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ROCHDALE, ENGLAND - JANUARY 23: A general view of products and price displays inside Rochdale's Morrisons supermarket on January 23, 2017 in Rochdale, England. Wm Morrison Supermarkets Plc has over 500 stores in the UK and operates an online home delivery service. Morrisons recently had its best Christmas for seven years after the supermarket chain revamped its premium ranges. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images) (Photo by Christopher Furlong / GETTY IMAGES EUROPE / Getty Images via AFP)


UK unemployment eases but vacancies soar: data

LondonUnited Kingdom, October 12 –Britain’s unemployment rate eased as the economy reopened, but vacancies hit another record peak before the end of the government’s furlough jobs support scheme, data showed Tuesday.

The unemployment rate — or proportion of the workforce that is unemployed — dropped to 4.5 percent in the three months to August, the Office for National Statistics said in a statement.

That compared with 4.6 percent in the three months to the end of July, but remained 0.5 percentage points higher than before the pandemic.

“The jobs market has continued to recover from the effects of the coronavirus,” said ONS economic statistics director Darren Morgan.

Vacancies however surged to almost 1.2 million in September, reflecting ongoing labour shortages.

The economy has been blighted by shortages particularly in the haulage sector, sparking major delivery problems, empty supermarket shelves and a motor fuel crisis.

But the ONS also added Tuesday that the number of UK workers on payrolls rose by 207,000 in September to a record 29.2 million.

That was 122,000 higher than before the Covid pandemic struck in February 2020.

“The number of employees on payroll in September (was) well exceeding pre-pandemic levels,” added Morgan.

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

The government’s furlough scheme, which supported millions of private-sector jobs during the pandemic, finished at the end of September.

The unemployment rate had struck a pandemic-peak of 5.2 percent at the end of last year.

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