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UK job vacancies hit another record high

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The number of job vacancies in the UK has reached a record high, rising above one million for the second consecutive month.

Figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show there were 1,102,000 vacancies between July and September, 318,000 more than pre-pandemic levels in January to March 2020.

Vacancies increased across most sectors, but the largest increase was in motor vehicle and motorcycle repair, where openings were up by 35,100.

Accommodation and food service and manufacturing also saw large increases in vacancy numbers.

Redundancies have decreased on the quarter to 3.6 per thousand in June to August, down 0.2 per thousand, which is similar to pre-pandemic levels.

Darren Morgan, director of economic statistics at the ONS, said: “Vacancies reached a new one-month record in September, at nearly 1.2 million, with our latest estimates suggesting that all industries have at least as many jobs on offer now as before the onset of Covid 19.”

Meanwhile, the number of employees in September was back to pre-Covid levels, up 207,000 to a record 29.2 million.

The employment rate for June to August was 75.3 per cent, down 1.3 percentage points from pre-pandemic levels, but up 0.5 percentage points from the previous quarter, with the bulk of the growth coming from part-time workers.

The unemployment rate was 4.5 per cent, up 0.5 percentage points since pre-pandemic levels, but down 0.4 percentage points from the previous quarter.

Sarah Coles, personal finance analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, said: “While it seems like we’re in the clear, we’re still not out of the woods just yet. We don’t yet know how many firms plan to lay off fewer than 20 people.

“Given that businesses with fewer than 50 staff employ almost half of UK workers, that’s a massive unknown. It‘s also still relatively early days for companies bringing people back from furlough.”

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