At the outset of the Covid-19 pandemic, Prime Minister Boris Johnson called for the public’s help to “squash the sombrero” of rising infections in order to avoid overwhelming the NHS.
Now that the furlough scheme - which at one point was preserving the jobs of nearly a quarter of a million people in Northern Ireland - is coming to an end, the economy is similarly at risk of becoming overwhelmed with unemployment.
But will the job support scheme be enough to squash the sombrero of rising unemployment in Northern Ireland? Already our claimant count has more than doubled since lockdown to around 62,000.
At the end of July, there were 102,000 people in Northern Ireland still on furlough, around 78,000 of which were on full-time furlough.
The remainder were on flexible furlough, with some hours of work available to them for which they were being paid by their employers - with the government subsidising the rest up to a maximum of £2,500 a month.
In all, the government was to pay 80% of a workers’ salary.
Furlough was a welcome if not miraculous intervention as it kept people in employment but left them with nothing to do - though of course, the fact that employers had no work for them was due to coronavirus restrictions, again due to government’s lockdown intervention.
The Chancellor has said that those days of people being paid to stay at home cannot continue.
Instead, he is replacing furlough with a six-month jobs support scheme, with government and employers jointly subisidising the wages of workers who can only work part-time hours due to a lack of demand.
The argument emphasised by the Chancellor was that “viable” jobs must be protected - those jobs that are likely to still have a future even when the pandemic is over.
That division between viable and non-viable brings with it a harsh judgment call as there are jobs which are no longer viable through no fault of an employee or employer.
That might be the sandwich maker in town or city centre sandwich shop now bereft of its normal custom base of office workers, or the worker in a live music venue which can no longer host gigs.
With the furlough scheme coming to an end and almost no prospect of part-time hours for many such workers - as a rising rate of infections is unlikely to reverse trends such as working from home - the loss of their jobs is now a grim inevitability.