UK employee numbers were back at pre-Covid levels in August, according the UK’s Office for National Statistics (ONS) with August payrolls showing a monthly increase of 241,000 to 29.1 million.
UK job vacancies also hit a record-high, as the number of vacancies in the 3 months to August rose above 1 million for the first time since records began in 2001.
Overall, the unemployment rate fell from 4.7% to 4.6% in the 3 months to July.
The positive indicators do come with a note of caution because there are still over 1 million employees not currently working but who are technically still employed via the Government’s furlough / wage subsidy scheme through which, the Government currently pays 60% of furloughed workers’ salaries. However, this subsidy comes to and end in 2 weeks time.
No one knows yet what proportion of employers will be in a position to afford to keep all, some or any of their furloughed workers on-board once the state subsidy ends. Many forecasters, including the Bank of England are expecting a small rise in unemployment once furlough ends, though the impact is likely to vary by sector, with the travel industry likely to be one of the hardest hit.