Britain's job vacancies top one MILLION

Britain’s job vacancies top one MILLION as struggling sectors blame Covid and Brexit while payroll numbers return to pre-pandemic levels

  • Payroll numbers have risen above pre-pandemic levels in latest official figures
  • Vacancies are above a million for the first time on record amid skills shortage
  • Unemployment also dipped as jobs market shows signs of recovery post-Covid

Britain’s job vacancies have topped one million for the first time with struggling sectors blaming the pandemic and Brexit. 

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said the surge in available jobs was powered by the hospitality sector, with businesses struggling to fulfil roles.  

Figures also show numbers on payroll have returned to pre-pandemic levels after rising 241,000 between July and August, moving 1,000 above the level before the crisis erupted.

The ONS also said that the rate of unemployment dropped again in the quarter from May to July to 4.6 per cent.

Jonathan Athow, ONS deputy national statistician for economic statistics, said: ‘Early estimates from payroll data suggest that in August the total number of employees is around the same level as before the pandemic, though our surveys show well over a million are still on furlough.

‘However, this recovery isn’t even: in hard-hit areas such as London, and sectors such as hospitality and arts and leisure, the numbers of workers remain well down on pre-pandemic levels.

The number of workers on payrolls rose by 241,000 between July and August, moving 1,000 above the level before the crisis erupted

‘The overall employment rate continues to recover, particularly among groups such as young workers who were hard hit at the outset of the pandemic, while unemployment has fallen.

‘Vacancies reached a new record high.

‘Not surprisingly, this is driven above all by hospitality, the sector with the highest proportion of employers reporting their job openings are hard to fill.’

Chancellor Rishi Sunak said: ‘Today’s statistics show that our Plan for Jobs is working – the unemployment rate has fallen for 7 months in a row, the number of employees on payrolls is back above pre-pandemic levels and there were fewer potential redundancies notified in August than at any point since the start of last year.

‘As we continue to recover from the pandemic, our focus remains on creating opportunities and supporting people’s jobs.’

Minister for Employment Mims Davies added: ‘As we continue to push ahead with our recovery, it’s great to see another significant fall in unemployment and the number of people on payrolls rising by 241,000 in August – the biggest monthly increase on record – showing our Plan for Jobs is working.

‘We’re helping employers recruit for the record number of vacancies out there, particularly in growing sectors, and supporting people of all ages and backgrounds to overcome barriers, land their next role, and progress in work.’

However, discussing the soaring vacancies, Suren Thiru, head of economics at the British Chamber of Commerce, told the Telegraph: ‘The jobs market has continued its summer revival but record vacancies also highlight the acute hiring crisis faced by many firms. 

‘With Brexit and Covid driving a more deep-seated decline in labour supply, the end of furlough is unlikely to be a silver bullet to the ongoing shortages.

‘These recruitment difficulties are likely to dampen the recovery by limiting firms’ ability to fulfil orders and meet customer demand.

‘Although the peak in unemployment will be lower than previous downturns, with rising cost pressures and an increasingly onerous tax burden likely to stifle firms’ recruitment intentions, a notable rise in job losses as furlough ends remains probable.’ 

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