ONS statistics show that workers in the accommodation and food services industries were most likely to be furloughed.
Just under a third of the UK workforce were furloughed between 23rd March and 5th April, according to the Office for National Statistics.
The ONS says 27% of the workforce, or 8m people, were furloughed, with workers in the accommodation and food services industries worst hit, while IT and education had the lowest proportion of furloughed workers.
Meanwhile, the National Institute of Economic and Social Research estimates that more than half of staff in occupations most vulnerable to the lockdown will be furloughed or made redundant.
The institute predicted that unemployment would rise from to more than six million by the end of next month, taking the unemployment rate to about 20% – double the 10% forecast by the Office for Budget Responsibility.
The findings by Professor David Bell and Professor David Blanchflower say that some of these workers will be furloughed and may return to work if and when there is a recovery, but this will only happen if their companies are solvent and have a market to sell into. “This becomes a tougher call the longer the lockdown persists,” they write. “In short: unemployment is set to rise in the UK by a lot. What is coming in the labour market looks horrendous.”