Rishi Sunak leads UK economy fightback as workers on payrolls surge by 356,000

Rishi Sunak grilled on National Living Wage

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The figures, published by the the Office for National Statistics (ONS) this morning, indicate that the number of UK workers on payrolls rose by 356,000 between May and June. However, the total has dropped by 206,000 since the start of the pandemic.


Minister for Employment Mims Davies MP said: “In the past year we have supported over 14.5 million people across the country through our Plan for Jobs including through the Kickstart Scheme.

“We know that it’s not been possible to save every job, but we have protected as many as we can, whilst helping new jobseekers through our DWP programmes to secure work.

“There is still work to do as today’s figures show, but importantly we’re on the right track and pushing for recovery – with a sustained rise in the number of people on payrolls, including 135,000 more young people in work this month, and another rise in vacancies on offer as we continue on our roadmap.”

The ONS’s latest monthly bulletin reveals that following a period of employment growth and low unemployment, since the start of the pandemic, the employment rate has generally decreased, and the unemployment rate increased. However, both have shown signs of recovery since the end of 2020 .

In the latest period, between March to May 2021, there was an increase in the employment rate of 0.1 percentage points, to 74.8 percent, and a decrease in the unemployment rate of 0.2 percentage points, to 4.8 percent.

The economic inactivity rate is up 0.1 percentage points on the previous quarter, to 21.3 percent.

The relaxation of many coronavirus restrictions, total hours worked increased on the quarter, but is still below pre-pandemic levels.

The redundancy rate fell on the quarter and has returned to pre-pandemic levels.

There were 862,000 job vacancies in April to June 2021 – 77,500 above its pre-pandemic level in January to March 2020.

The ONS analysis also reveals the growth in average total pay (including bonuses) was 7.3 percent and regular pay (excluding bonuses) was 6.6 percent among employees for March to May 2021.

However, annual growth in average employee pay is still being affected by temporary factors whcih have inflated the increase in the headline growth rate.

All but one industry saw quarterly increases in their number of vacancies. In June 2021, the experimental monthly vacancies data, and the experimental Adzuna online vacancies data both continued to surpass pre-pandemic levels.

Darren Morgan, director of economic statistics at the Office for National Statistics, said: “The labour market is continuing to recover, with the number of employees on payroll up again strongly in June.

“However it is still over 200,000 down on pre-pandemic levels, while a large number of workers remain on furlough.”

He added: “The number of job vacancies continued to rise very strongly.

“The biggest sector driving this was hospitality, followed by wholesaling and retailing.

“As the economy gradually reopened, the unemployment rate fell in March to May. This was especially marked for younger people, who had been hardest hit by earlier lockdowns.

Responding the figures, Jonathan Reynolds MP, Labour’s Shadow Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, struck a more downbeat tone, saying: “The Government’s failure to secure the recovery has seen record long term unemployment.

“Nearly half a million people have been unemployed for a year yet the Restart jobs scheme has been live for just three days.”

He added: “Labour has a plan to buy, make and sell more in Britain so we can create the jobs of the future, nurture the skills we need and get our economy firing on all cylinders.

“Labour’s jobs promise would guarantee a job or training opportunity for any young person away from work or education for six months, and ensure no one is away from work for more than a year.”

(More to follow)

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