Sunday, September 19, 2021

UK workforce back to pre-pandemic levels

The workforce in Britain has returned to pre-pandemic levels as the economic recovery continues, Britain’s Office for National Statistics (ONS) revealed on Tuesday.

Employment was badly hit during the pandemic, but it has shown signs of improvement since the end of 2020.

Just before the start of the CCP (Communist Party of China) virus pandemic, the number of UK workers on the payroll increased from 241,000 to 29.1 million between July and August, returning to February 2020 levels.

Meanwhile, an even more significant increase has been observed in the number of job vacancies. The vacancies increased by 35.2 per cent in June-August 2021 as compared to the previous quarter. The largest increase in vacancies was seen in housing and food service activities, which increased by 75.4 percent.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak said the new figures “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,” he said.

But Jonathan Atho, the ONS deputy national statistician for economic data, cautioned that the recovery “is not even.”

“In hard-hit areas like London, and in sectors like hospitality and arts and leisure, the number of workers remains well below pre-pandemic levels,” he said.

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Labor shortage has become a serious problem for the economy. Etho said the hospitality sector has “the highest proportion of employers reporting job openings that are difficult to fill.”

“The ongoing supply and labor shortage is hindering further growth,” said Matthew Percival, director of people and skills at the Confederation of British Industry.

He urged the government to loosen migration rules “so that firms can temporarily fill the most critical vacancies.”

Suren Thiru, head of economics at the British Chambers of Commerce, said: “Increasing cost pressures and an increasingly tax burden [are] Firms are likely to suppress hiring intentions,” and as a result the UK unemployment rate is likely to rise to 5.1 percent by early 2022.

British businesses have complained that the government’s decision to raise taxes has been taken despite the 2019 election manifesto promising not to do so.

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On 7 September, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced a new UK-wide 1.25 percent health and social care levy, based on national insurance contributions. He said a £12 billion ($17 billion) tax increase was needed to improve social care funding and help the National Health Service clean up the backlog caused by the pandemic.

PA contributed to this report.

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This News Originally From – The Epoch Times

UK workforce back to pre-pandemic levels
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