Jewish unemployment soared above national rate during pandemic — report

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Jewish unemployment soared above national rate during pandemic — report

Institute for Jewish Policy Research says its study should help community leaders identify the most vulnerable

Successive lockdowns affected Britain's Jewish community, the JPR report found (Photo: Alamy)
Successive lockdowns affected Britain's Jewish community, the JPR report found (Photo: Alamy)

Jewish unemployment appeared to soar above the national rate last summer in the months after the coronavirus pandemic broke out, a new study has found.

The report by the Institute for Jewish Policy Research (JPR) said that before the COVID-19 outbreak the rate of unemployed Jews had been lower than across British society as a whole, but that the position changed in the summer of 2020.

JPR found that Jewish women were considerably more likely than men to have experienced redundancy, furlough, loss of income or loss of hours.

The Jewish group that stood out the most was the strictly-Orthodox, the report added, with over half of Britain’s population affected.

“This report provides us with the first population level view of how Jewish people’s working lives have been affected by the pandemic, and the scale of the disruption is clear to see,” said Jonathan Boyd, JPR executive director.

“Whilst some Jews have certainly been able to weather the storm, many have not, and this report helps community policy makers to identify where the pockets of need are greatest.”

JPR said that while more national and community data was needed to establish whether there was a clear trend in rising Jewish unemployment, the tendency towards self-employment among Jews was likely to have had an “adverse effect” on the figures.

Boyd said that more communal support would be needed in the months to come: “Community organisations and foundations are already doing important work to support affected individuals..

“We recommend further endeavour in this regard, alongside increased monitoring of Jewish employment rates over time to track change and understand the effectiveness of the interventions that are being put in place.”

The study was based on a survey of Jews across the UK conducted in July 2020.

JPR said it was planning a follow-up survey in the coming months to determine whether the rates of unemployment had changed further.

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