Job vacancies and payroll figures hit record highs as wages rise 3.8%

Unemployment falls, job vacancies and payroll figures hit record highs and wages rise 3.8% – but not as much as inflation surges

  • Latest figures show unemployment and vacancies falling to new high
  • Payroll figures also hit new high as labor market recovers from Covid
  • Salaries excluding bonuses increased by 3.8%, but this was below inflation

Unemployment has fallen and vacancies and payroll figures have reached record highs as the UK labor market continues to recover.

Official figures show that the unemployment rate fell by 0.2 percentage point between November and January to stand at 3.9%.

Meanwhile, the number of employees rose by 275,000 in a month to reach 29.7 million in February, and vacancies hit a new high of 1,318,000.

Average total salary growth – including bonuses – was 4.8% in the quarter ending January, but regular salary increases were less at 3.8%.

Taking inflation into account, which was equivalent to a 1% drop in purchasing power.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak insisted the figures showed the UK was in a good position to overcome “current global challenges”.

Average total salary growth – including bonuses – was 4.8% in the quarter ending January, but regular salary increases were less at 3.8%. Taking inflation into account, which was equivalent to a 1% drop in purchasing power.

ONS chief economist Grant Fitzner said: ‘The labor market continues to recover from the effects of the pandemic, with the number of unemployed falling below pre-pandemic levels for the first time and another strong increase in employees in February.

“However, the number of people out of work and not looking for work rose again, meaning total employment remained well below its pre-pandemic level.

“We have seen another record number of vacancies, and with the layoff rate falling to a new record, the demand for workers remains strong.

“Because bonuses have remained at high levels for some workers, total income growth has just outpaced price increases over the past year, although regular wages have fallen again in real terms.”

Mr Sunak said: ‘Thanks to the unprecedented economic support we have provided, we have now seen a year of falling unemployment and a stronger labor market rebound than so many expected.

“I am convinced that our labor market is well positioned to face the current global challenges, with the number of salaried employees above pre-pandemic levels in every country and region and layoffs at record levels.

“We know people are concerned about the rising cost of living, so as well as continuing to help people find good jobs, we are providing direct support worth over £20billion this exercise and the next one.”

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