200,000 more people at work in May as economic recovery strengthens Business News

British employers added 200,000 people to their payrolls in May as more people returned to work and the unemployment rate fell as the economic recovery from the pandemic strengthened.

The number of people in paid employment increased by 197,000 between April and May, but remains 553,000 below the level reached before the start of the pandemic, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) reported.

The official unemployment rate, which measures those unemployed and looking for work, fell to 4.7% between February and April, from 4.8% in the previous three months.

Young people have borne the brunt of job losses during the pandemic. There were 126,000 workers under 25 in May this year than 12 months ago.

The data showed encouraging signs of recovery in some of the industries hardest hit by lockdowns and social distancing. Indoor hotels reopened across the UK in May, boosting cinemas, restaurants, pubs and bars.

Employment in accommodation and food services increased by 54,000 in May, helped by the easing of restrictions in April and May that allowed pubs and restaurants to welcome customers again. Arts and entertainment added 15,000 jobs and 14,000 wholesale and retail.

Rishi Sunak hailed the numbers as proof that the government’s “Jobs Plan” was working. However, this came as major business groups warned that a delay in easing restrictions, announced on Monday without any additional financial support to businesses, could lead to job losses.

Mr Sunak has rejected calls to extend the leave scheme to help employers cope with the economic impact of social distancing, measures which will continue at least until July 19, and not June 21 as it had. been expected.

Dr Roger Barker, director of policy at the Institute of Directors, said businesses face a ‘cliff edge’ with government support for ending or starting downscaling, ”he said. -he declares.

“It is essential that this support is deployed in proportion to the extension of the lockdown. Economic support and public health measures must be aligned. “

On June 23, businesses will be hit with quarterly bills and the ban on commercial rent evictions ends the following week.

On July 1, employers must start contributing towards the cost of wages for employees on leave. On the same day, the 100 percent business rate relief drops to 67 percent.

Sam Beckett, head of economic statistics at the ONS, said: “The number of employees on the payroll rose sharply in May, up to almost 200,000, although it still fell by more than ‘half a million since the pandemic struck.

“Job vacancies continued to pick up in the spring, and our early estimates suggest that in May, the total had surpassed its pre-pandemic level, with strong growth in sectors such as hospitality.

“In the meantime, the layoff rate remains moderate, while the number of employees on leave has continued to decline.”

The average salary, excluding bonuses, rose 5.6% for the three months from February to April 2021, but the ONS warned that the figure was rising because it is a comparison with the same period a year ago when wages plunged in the first lockdown.

A drop in the number of people in lower-paying jobs is also pushing the average up, ONS said

Chancellor Rishi Sunak said: “Our jobs plan is working – the latest unemployment forecasts are about half of what was previously feared and the number of salaried employees is at its highest level since April of l ‘last year.

“We understand the value of work and the distress caused by unemployment – that’s why we continue to support people and jobs.

“The leave program continues until September and we are creating new pathways to work through apprenticeships, kickstart placements for young people as well as targeted support for the long-term unemployed.”

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This notice was published: 2021-06-15 07:14:29

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