Job Vacancies Rise Despite Unemployment Drop

There has been an increase in the number of jobs available in the last few months, despite the employment rate being in decline.

According to the latest figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), signs of recovery in the labour market were seen at the end of 2021.

It’s Labour Force Survey showed the number of job vacancies between November last year and January 2022 increased by 113,600 from the previous quarter. This brings the total growth from the January‐March 2020 quarter to 513,700, and takes the current number to a record high.

Indeed, there were 1,298,400 positions available last month, which is the largest figure ever recorded. This is particularly impressive as the unemployment rate has not increased at the same time.

In fact, the unemployment rate declined by 0.2 percentage points between October and December 2021, dropping to 4.1 per cent. The latest figure also represents only a slight increase in the number of unemployed adults in the UK from December to February 2020 to the end of 2021, despite the impact of the pandemic on the labour market.

The number of payrolled employees also increased over the last quarter, rising by 108,000 to a record high of 29.5 million. Since February 2020, before Covid‐19 forced the UK into a national lockdown, the number of payrolled employees has risen by 436,000.

ONS’ recent findings demonstrate a boost in the economy. As the unemployment rate did not increase, this shows job vacancies were not the result of a turnover of staff, but companies simply hiring more employees. Their expansion means they are beginning to recover from Covid‐19 lockdowns and the working‐from‐home instruction.

The employment rate of adults between 16 and 64 years old also rose in the last quarter of 2021, increasing by 0.1 per cent. While there has been a slight dip of one per cent since before the pandemic in early 2020, its rate is still 75.5 per cent. This remains close to the record high of 76.6 per cent, which was achieved between December 2019 and February 2020.

At the time, head of labour market statistics David Freeman was tweeted as saying: “Our final data wholly from before the coronavirus restrictions were in place showed the labour market was very robust in the three months to February.”

Sam Beckett, head of economic statistics at the ONS, stated the reason why employment levels have not yet reached the same highs experienced in 2020 could be because fewer people are returning to work.

“Nearly 400,000 people, mostly the over‐50s, have disengaged from the world of work altogether and are neither working nor looking for a job,” he wrote on Twitter.

The pandemic forced a lot of people to re‐evaluate their lives, and for many, this meant having a better work‐life balance by retiring earlier than they had originally expected to.

As businesses are increasing their workforce and advertising more job vacancies, it is essential they find candidates that are perfect for the role. Employment verification specialists, however, can carry out important checks such as DBS, Right to Work, and financial checks, ensuring they are legally allowed to take on the position.

Agenda Screening Services can also take a thorough look at their CV and check their references, so the next time you advertise for a job is to continue expanding your team.

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