The Office for National Statistics (ONS) has said the amount of people on the payroll has recovered to pre-pandemic levels in August.
During August there was a rise of 241,000 which took to the total number to 29.1m which is similar levels seen in February 2020.
Between June and August the ONS said the number of job vacancies rose to a record high of 1.03m, with the largest demand for jobs was seen in the hospitality sector. Wages rose by 8.3% in the three months to July and 6.8% with bonuses stripped out.
Jonathan Athow, ONS deputy national statistician for economic statistics, said: “Early estimates from payroll data suggest that in August the total number of employees is around the same level as before the pandemic, though our surveys show well over a million are still on furlough.
“However, this recovery isn’t even: in hard-hit areas such as London and sectors such as hospitality and arts and leisure the numbers of workers remain well down on pre-pandemic levels.
“The overall employment rate continues to recover, particularly among groups such as young workers who were hard hit at the outset of the pandemic, while unemployment has fallen.
“Vacancies reached a new record high.
“Not surprisingly, this is driven above all by hospitality, the sector with the highest proportion of employers reporting their job openings are hard to fill.”
Chancellor Rishi Sunak said: “Today’s statistics show that our plan for jobs is working.
“As we continue to recover from the pandemic, our focus remains on creating opportunities and supporting people’s jobs.”
Kitty Ussher, chief economist at the Institute of Directors, said: “The economy is now well-prepared for the end of furlough, with unemployment demonstrating a clear downward trend and the highest level of vacancies in the economy since records began.”
But Suren Thiru, head of economics at the British Chambers of Commerce, said: “Record vacancies also highlight the acute hiring crisis faced by many firms.
“With Brexit and COVID driving a more deep-seated decline in labour supply, the end of furlough is unlikely to be a silver bullet to the ongoing shortages.”