Record Jump in Employee Numbers
The jobs market continues to show signs of recovery with the latest labour market statistics reporting a record rise in the number of employees on company payrolls, another decline in unemployment and a rise in job vacancies.
Although the number of people in work remains well below pre-COVID levels, recently released ONS data has highlighted a surge in employee numbers, with 197,000 more people in payrolled employment in May, compared to April. This represents the largest single-month increase in this measure of employment since records began in 2014.
There was positive news on the unemployment front, with the headline rate falling for the fourth month in a row. The overall rate dipped to 4.7% across the three months to April, down from 4.8% in the previous three-month period.
The data also showed that job vacancies now stand at their highest level since the onset of the pandemic. Two sets of experimental monthly data, currently being trialled by ONS, both suggest vacancies in May were back above pre-pandemic levels.
Commenting on the figures, ONS Head of Economic Statistics Sam Beckett said, “The number of employees on payroll grew strongly in May, although it is still over half a million down since the pandemic struck. Job vacancies continued to recover in the spring, with strong growth in sectors such as hospitality. Meanwhile, the redundancy rate remains subdued.”
The number of employees on furlough also continues to fall, with the latest statistics revealing a drop to around 1.5 million in early June. This is significantly below the peak of nearly 9 million recorded in May 2020 and the lowest figure since the pandemic struck. The Bank of England now believes unemployment will rise only modestly when the furlough scheme ends on 30 September and this further decline in furlough numbers supports that view.
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