LONDON: Britain’s unemployment rate eased as the economy reopened, but vacancies hit another record peak before the end of the government’s furlough jobs support scheme, data showed Tuesday.
The unemployment rate — or proportion of the workforce that is unemployed — dropped to 4.5 per cent in the three months to August, the Office for National Statistics said in a statement.
That compared with 4.6 per cent in the three months to the end of July but remained 0.5 percentage points higher than before the pandemic.
“The jobs market has continued to recover from the effects of the coronavirus,” said ONS economic statistics director Darren Morgan.
Vacancies however surged to almost 1.2 million in September, reflecting ongoing labour shortages.
The economy has been blighted by shortages particularly in the haulage sector, sparking major delivery problems, empty supermarket shelves and a motor fuel crisis.
But the ONS also added Tuesday that the number of UK workers on payrolls rose by 207,000 in September to a record 29.2 million.
That was 122,000 higher than before the Covid pandemic struck in February 2020.
“The number of employees on payroll in September (was) well exceeding pre-pandemic levels,” added Morgan.
“Vacancies also reached a new one-month record … with our latest estimates suggesting that all industries have at least as many jobs on offer now as before the onset of Covid-19.”
The government’s furlough scheme, which supported millions of private-sector jobs during the pandemic, finished at the end of September.
The unemployment rate had struck a pandemic peak of 5.2 per cent at the end of last year.