UK hiring surged in June; vacancies rise over pre-pandemic levels – business live | Business
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The number of UK workers on company payrolls has jumped, as the relaxation of lockdown rules saw firms take on more staff.
UK company payrolls rose by 356,000 in June from May, according to the latest estimate from the Office for National Statistics – the first full month after Covid-19 restrictions on hospitality firms, leisure venues and international travel were eased.
That’s the largest monthly increase since the pandemic began (triggering a swathe of job cuts) and lifts the total number of payroll employees to nearly 28.9 million.
The ONS says hospitality, wholesale and retail companies, and the arts and entertainment sector all took on more staff:
Three of the sectors that have had the greatest decreases have all continued to see substantial monthly increases in payrolled employees, according to flash estimates; between May and June 2021, accommodation and food services increased by 94,000 employees, wholesale and retail by 29,000, and arts and entertainment by 24,000.
However, payrolls remain 206,000 below pre-coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic levels, highlighting the economic damage caused by the pandemic.
In a significant milestone, for the first time since the beginning of the pandemic, payroll numbers some regions are now above pre-pandemic (February 2020) levels, the ONS reports. These include North East, North West, East Midlands and Northern Ireland.
The ONS also reports that the headline unemployment rate for the three months to May was 4.8%, up from 4.7% a month ago (but lower than in the previous quarter).
The UK employment rate was estimated at 74.8%, 1.8 percentage points lower than before the pandemic, but 0.1 percentage points higher than the previous quarter.
Total hours worked in March-May increased, compared with December-February, due to the relaxation of many coronavirus (COVID-19) restrictions – but it remains below pre-pandemic levels.
The redundancy rate decreased on the quarter and has returned to pre-pandemic levels, the ONS adds.
Darren Morgan, ONS Director of Economic Statistics, says the UK labour market continues to recovery:
More to follow….
- 7am BST: UK unemployment statistics
- 9.30am BST: ONS weekly economic indicators
- 11am BST: Bank of England policymaker Michael Saunders speech “The Inflation Outlook”
- 1.30pm BST: US weekly jobless claims
- 2.15pm BST: US industrial production for June