UK jobless dips, job vacancies soar: data

16 July, 2021 12:00 AM printer

LONDON: Britain’s unemployment rate is falling as the economy grinds back into gear but job vacancies are soaring as reopening businesses struggle to recruit sufficient staff, official data showed Thursday.

The unemployment rate—or proportion of the workforce that is unemployed—dipped to 4.8 percent in the three months to the end of May, reports AFP.

That was down from 5.0 percent in the three months to February, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said in a statement, but it remains 0.9 percentage points higher than its pre-pandemic level.

The number of employees on payrolls meanwhile soared by a record 356,000 in June, hitting 28.9 million people.

That is 206,000 below pre-pandemic levels.

The labour market has picked up since March as a result of the economy’s phased reopening.

However, sectors like hospitality have faced difficulty recruiting staff.

Job vacancies jumped to 862,000 between April and June, rising by 77,500 from the first quarter.

The number of vacancies is now above its pre-pandemic level from early 2020, and stands at a three-year peak.

“The labour market is continuing to recover, with the number of employees on payroll up again strongly in June,” said ONS director of economic statistics Darren Morgan.

However, “the number of job vacancies continued to rise very strongly,” he added.

“The biggest sector driving this was hospitality, followed by wholesaling and retailing,” Morgan said.

The UK economy is set to fully reopen next Monday, July 19, with the lifting of most pandemic curbs in England.