The number of job vacancies in the UK has hit a record high, with “strong growth” in sectors affected by the easing of lockdown restrictions, according to new figures.
There were an estimated 953,000 vacancies between May and July this year, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).
This was a jump of more than 40 per cent compared to earlier in the year – and the highest figure since records began in 2001.
The ONS said there were 3.2 vacancies for every 100 employee jobs across the UK between May and July, which is also a record high.
The arts, entertainment and recreation industry saw the strongest growth in the period, with the number of vacancies up by 276 per cent compared to between February and April, according to the statistics body’s data.
Other industries affected by the loosening of lockdown restrictions saw the number of job vacancies soar, including the hospitality sector.
UK worker numbers also rebounded further in July as the labour market recovery continued, the figures showed.
The ONS found the number of UK workers on payrolls rose by 182,000 between June and July, although at 28.9 million it is still 201,000 lower than before the Covid pandemic struck.
The statistics body also confirmed that the rate of unemployment had dipped to 4.7 per cent for the three-month period to the end of June.
In response to the latest labour market figures from the ONS, Rishi Sunak, the 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.”
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.”
He said early survey figures also showed the number of job vacancies passed one million for the first time in July.
A recent report by a jobs site Caterer.com found job vacancies in hospitality jumped by 342 per cent since the sector was allowed to reopen during the Covid pandemic and some areas would have been particularly hard-hit by the loss of EU workers.
Additional reporting by Press Association