UK job vacancies surge as wages rise

Over the last quarter the number of vacancies reached 953,000

Job vacancies are at a record high as the labour market continues its robust recovery, official figures have revealed.

For the three months to July, the number of vacancies reached 953,000, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said.

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During the same period the unemployment rate fell to 4.7%, as the yearly growth in average pay was 7.4%.

Rishi Sunak, chancellor, said: “Today’s figures show that our Plan for Jobs is working – saving people’s jobs and getting people back into work.”

“I know there could still be bumps in the road but the data is promising – there are now more employees on payrolls than at any point since March 2020 and the number of people on furlough is the lowest since the scheme launched.”

The number of people in employment rose again, by 182,000 to 28.9m in July, but remained 201,000 below pre-pandemic levels. As the economy recovered, job vacancies rose to a record high of 953,000 in May to July – 168,000 more than before the pandemic.

Jonathan Athow, deputy national statistician for economic statistics at the ONS, said: “The world of work continues to rebound robustly from the effects of the pandemic. 

“The number of people on payroll was up again strongly and has now grown over half a million in the past three months, regaining about four-fifths of the fall seen at the start of the pandemic.”

However, experts were cautious to say that the figures proved that there would number be a flurry of layoffs as the furlough scheme comes to an end.

Martin Beck, senior economic adviser to the EY Item Club, said: “Looking ahead, the jobless rate could feasibly creep up in the short-term: an easing of restrictions has made searching for a job easier, and this could result in people moving from inactivity to seeking a job and therefore being picked up in the numbers again.”

“But the risk of a serious increase in joblessness when the furlough scheme closes in September looks low.”

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