Drop in the number claiming benefits across Lancashire as payrolled worker numbers rise, latest job figures show

The number of UK workers on company payrolls has surged by more than 120,000 above pre-pandemic levels after a record jump in September as vacancies remained above a million for the second month running, according to official figures.

Tuesday, 12th October 2021, 8:28 am

The Office for National Statistics said the number of payrolled workers rose by 207,000 between August and September to a record 29.2 million.

This was 122,000 higher than levels seen before the pandemic struck in February 2020.

The data also showed another record leap in job vacancies, estimated to be up by nearly 1.2 million in September.

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The number of people on the payroll has shot up in the three months to September, figures show

Britain’s recovery in the jobs market saw the rate of unemployment fall further to 4.5 per cent between June and August, down from 4.6 per cent in the quarter to July, the ONS added.

With furlough support coming to a close at the end of last month, the latest figures showed the redundancy rate decreased in the three months to August, to 3.6 per 1,000 employees, which is similar to pre-pandemic levels.

Darren Morgan, director of economic statistics at the ONS, said: “The jobs market has continued to recover from the effects of the coronavirus, with the number of employees on payroll in September now well exceeding pre-pandemic levels.

“Vacancies also reached a new one-month record in September, at nearly 1.2 million, with our latest estimates suggesting that all industries have at least as many jobs on offer now as before the onset of Covid-19.”

But the ONS flagged the impact of the mounting recruitment crisis in the UK, with recent analysis showing a raft of sectors struggling to fill posts as vacancies rose 318,000 above levels seen before Covid.

The hospitality sector is finding it the most difficult to recruit, according to recent ONS analysis, with nearly a third (30%) saying it is harder than normal to fill vacancies.

In another sign of the buoyant recruitment market, the ONS said the biggest rise in vacancies was seen in the administration and support sector – namely temporary employment agencies – with a 165,000 increase.

Hospitality firms were looking to fill 32,000 jobs in September.

Across the UK, the monthly number of people claiming work-related benefits such as Universal Credit, due to lack of work or low pay, also fell in September compared to the same month last year. There were 2,079,275 claimants, or five per cent of the population a figure down 1.4 per cent on last year.

In Lancashire the number claiming benefits in September also fell compared to 2020.

In the Blackpool North and Cleveleys constituency, there were 3,310 claiming, or 6.8 per cent of the population, a figure down 2.4 per cent on last September.

In Blackpool South there were 4,775 claimants, 9.7 per cent of the population, down 2.7 per cent on last year. In Chorley there were 2,305 claimants, 3.6 per cent of the population, down 1.3 per cent and in Fylde there were 1,795 claimants, 3.6 per cent, down1.7 per cent on last year.

Lancaster and Fleetwood had 2,320 claimants, 3.8 per cent of the population, down 1.1 per cent, while Preston had 4,555 claiming benefits, 7 per cent of the population, a figure down 1.2 per cent on last year.

The Ribble Valley had 1,570 claiming, 2.6 per cent of the population, 1.1 per cent down on last September, South Ribble had 1,660 claiming, 2.8 per cent of the population there and 1.2 per cent down on last year, while Wyre and Preston North had 1,300 claimants, 2.5 per cent of the population, down 1.2 per cent on September last year.

Wages enjoyed another steep rise, with average weekly earnings up 7.2% with bonuses or 6% without bonuses in the three months to August.

But the ONS stressed that the earnings figures continue to be skewed by certain factors, with lower paid jobs being hit hardest by the pandemic.

British Chambers of Commerce Director of Policy, James Martin, said: “With the number of employees working in the UK economy at the end of September climbing back to pre-pandemic levels, the overall UK labour market is showing some recovery. Businesses who have shown innovation and creativity to survive and rebuild from the pandemic should take much of the credit.

“Today’s figures show a second month with a record number of vacancies, now at more than a third above their pre-pandemic levels. With Brexit and the pandemic driving a more deep-seated decline in labour supply, businesses throughout the UK tell us they cannot access the skills they need even as their costs balloon.

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