The latest figures from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) are very positive and show that the UK’s economy is bouncing back from the coronavirus pandemic. The important figures are moving in the right direction, including a growing number of vacancies, a declining unemployment rate and a growth in wages. This article will take a look at the latest ONS statistics – keep reading!
Exciting and promising news! The Office of National Statistics (ONS) has unveiled some positive figures which suggest the UK’s economy and the job market is well in recovery mode.
In the three months leading up to July, vacancies hit 953,000. And, in the three months to June, the unemployment rate fell to 4.7%, and the annual growth in average pay hit 7.4%. These figures are significant, but the ONS has advised we take them with an element of caution.
Jonathan Athow, Deputy Statistician at the ONS, said the rise in wages “hasn’t been that high for a long time“. However, he also added:
“This time last year, we had millions of people on furlough, many getting 80% of their wages, other people having their hours cut, and that pushed wages down,” he said.
So when we look at wages this year, when people have come back from furlough, it’s really been boosted by the fact that last year wages were quite low. Some of this group was just wages returning to the level before the pandemic.”
It is no surprise that the number of payrolls is still lower compared to figures before the pandemic. However, payrolls rose by over 180,000 between the months of June and July, and the overall number of employees on payroll has increased by over half a million in the last three months.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak also expressed his optimism at the statistics. He said:
“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.”
Prime Minister Boris Johnson also viewed the stats in a positive light. On LinkedIn, Boris posted:
“Today’s jobs figures are encouraging, showing signs of recovery across the country with employment up and unemployment down. There is still work to do but our Plan For Jobs will give people the skills and experience they need to get back into work.”
Faisal Islam, Economics Editor at the BBC, summarised the ONS statistics and what it means for the UK’s economy.
“These figures show a jobs market in robust recovery as the economy reopens and the furlough scheme starts to be phased out. Employment is up on all measures, unemployment down and experimental numbers in the month of July showed there are over one million vacancies.
There are record numbers of unfilled jobs, in sectors such as entertainment, accommodation and food, underlining the concerns of industry on labour shortages.
The number of payroll jobs reported on the HMRC systems is now very close to its pre pandemic level at 28.9 million now compared with 29 million in March 2020. That number is up 576,000 over the past year and 182,000 up in July alone.
The growth in that varies considerably between regions, with holiday areas such as Cornwall and west Wales showing annual rates of growth of around 5%, far above the rates in major cities.
The chancellor welcomed the figures as “promising”. Analysts warned that the unemployment figures would rise as the furlough scheme continued to be phased out. But the peak unemployment rate is on course to be significantly lower than had been expected last year.”
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