Unemployment rate remained steady at 4.8% from an upwardly revised figure, according to figure out today.
The data showed 862,000 Job vacancies – 77,500 above pre-pandemic levels.
Number of employees on the payroll are up 356,000 and average earnings rise by 7.3% (or 6.6% excluding bonuses).
Danni Hewson, financial analyst at AJ Bell, comments: “There’s a lot of positives to take from this latest set of figures but there are also a number of questions that need answering. The most important for sectors struggling to find staff is how long will it take the labour market to reconfigure now restrictions are all but gone and furlough is almost at an end. There’s also the thorny issue of pay. How much will desperate employers be willing to offer to tempt staff back into jobs and how much of that extra cost will they pass on to customers. Where margins are tight, we are already hearing that employers are getting creative with non-pay related perks which play into the work life balance conversation that has become so popular.
“There’s also geography to consider. Whilst the number of people on the payroll is still 206,000 below pre pandemic levels, some regions have boomed and have numbers above those seen before the economic shock, with big gains in places like the North East, North West and East Midlands. Whether that trend will continue after restrictions ease and big cities get their mojo back will be fascinating to watch. Workers have followed the jobs as sectors like hospitality, leisure and retail were effectively shuttered and many will now be settled and unlikely to want to move again.
“The next few months will bring big changes and will finally give us a clearer picture of where any permanent damage has been done. 16-24 year olds, so badly impacted by the last 15 months, are now starting to get back into the work force, although that change is still relatively slow. Will there be the right jobs in the right places for the right people with the right skills? That’s an age-old conundrum and one that looks to have been exacerbated by the massive economic shock the country has just lived through.
“Yes, there are positives in this latest set of figures and reasons to be optimistic about the country’s continued drive down the economic road to recovery. But the last reopening boost will come and go and it’s clear the momentum has slowed at least for now.”