Long Covid shrinks workforce by 110,000

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Of these, 2.3m said they are long-term sick, up by more than 200,000 since February 2020.

The extra 110,000 identified by the IFS largely come on top of these figures, as they are people who still have their jobs but are off on sick leave.

As well as hurting the wider economy, long Covid also deals a painful blow to the finances of those who suffer from it.

“Our research suggests that for a significant minority of long Covid sufferers, the condition has severe effects not only on their health but on their ability to do paid work,” said Mr Waters.

“The rising rate of long Covid could therefore put additional strain on families during the cost of living crisis, especially as long Covid is more common among poorer families, as well as dragging on a struggling economy.”

The IFS estimates that the typical person who drops out of work due to long Covid loses income amounting to around £1,100 per month, a serious hit when prices have jumped by more than 9pc over the past year.

Across the nation’s households overall, this translates to almost £1.5bn of lost earnings per year.

The warning comes as the Recruitment and Employment Confederation found confidence among employers is dropping at its fastest since the early months of the pandemic.

Companies are still trying to take on more staff, but rising inflation is undermining their faith in the strength of the economy.

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