The Institute for Employment Studies (IES) estimated that employment has fallen by around 1.5 to two million during the first month of the crisis. The loss is on top of people who have been furloughed under the Government’s scheme.
And it is double the drop in employment during the last recession.
Unemployment has increased to at least 2.5 million, or 7.5 percent of the workforce.
The IES has urged the Government to set up a “Cobra for jobs” to deal with the impact of coronavirus on employment.
IES director Tony Wilson said: “We recommend that government brings together a ‘Cobra’ for jobs, to work together on designing, co-ordinating and mobilising this response, and convening a wide range of partners including government departments and agencies, local government, sector bodies, trusts and foundations and key stakeholders.
“The proposals will help to ensure that as the economy recovers we can keep people attached to work, help them find better work, and minimise the ‘scars’ from being out of work.
“With a cost of around £4.7 billion over the next three years, the evidence from previous programmes tells us that this investment would more than pay for itself in the future, while the evidence from previous recessions tells us that the costs of inaction would be far higher.”
The IES added it could take years for the labour market to fully recover.
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“But with recent surveys implying that at least a third of the private sector workforce could be paid through the scheme, it is likely to cost as much as £30 billion to £40 billion over three months.”
Mr Bell added that while it was expensive, the social cost of millions going unemployed without the Government guarantee would be “far, far greater”.
The BCC found that one fifth of companies who responded are now planning to furlough all their staff, up from 17 percent in the last survey.
And 37 percent of respondent said they will furlough between 75 percent and 100 percent of their workforce in the coming week.