UK’s unemployment falls as economy reopens
UK’s unemployment rate dipped to 4.8 per cent in the three months to May (Photo: PUNIT PARANJPE/AFP/Getty Images)
UNEMPLOYMENT rate has come down in Britain with the opening of the Covid-hit economy, but businesses are struggling to recruit sufficient staff, official data released on Thursday (15) showed.
The country’s unemployment rate dipped to 4.8 per cent in the three months to May, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said in a statement.
That was down from 5.0 per cent in the three months to February, the ONS added.
Though, labour market has picked up since March following the economy’s phased reopening, the unemployment remains 0.9 percentage points higher than its pre-pandemic level.
The employment situation is expected to improve further as England is set to fully exit lockdown on Monday (19) after a speedy vaccine drive.
The ONS added that the number of employees on payrolls soared by a record 356,000 in June.
British chancellor Rishi Sunak said, “As we approach the final stages of reopening the economy, I look forward to seeing more people back at work and the economy continuing to rebound.”
“We are bouncing back,” he added.
Job vacancies jumped to 862,000 between April and June, rising by 77,500 from the first quarter, while sectors like hospitality faced difficulty recruiting staff.
The number of vacancies is now above its pre-pandemic level from early 2020, and stands at a three-year peak, news agency AFP reported.
“The labour market is continuing to recover, with the number of employees on payroll up again strongly in June,” said ONS director of economic statistics Darren Morgan.
“The biggest sector driving this was hospitality, followed by wholesaling and retailing,” he added.
The Confederation of British Industry (CBI), said soaring vacancies signals recovery in demand.
It added that staff shortages had been spurred partly by employees self-isolating due to spike in Covid infections.
Separately, Japanese carmaker Nissan revealed that some of its workers at Sunderland factory were self-isolating.
“Production in certain areas of the plant has been adjusted as we manage a number of staff being required to self-isolate following close contact with Covid-19,” a spokesman for Nissan told AFP.