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Britain is suffering from what looks like a record level of inactivity in its labor market because of the huge numbers of people on furlough or facing unemployment due to COVID-19, Bank of England chief economist Andy Haldane said.

“We’ve seen activity across the economy collapse, and we’ve seen a rapid rise in inactivity among workers - both people being made unemployed, but importantly ... 8 million people underemployed due to furlough schemes,” Haldane said during an online discussion at the CogX technology conference.

“That’s a level of inactivity in the jobs market we haven’t seen, possibly ever,” he added.

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The BoE said last month that the unemployment rate was likely to more than double to 9% during the three months to June, excluding the millions of people being kept in work by the government’s job support scheme.

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