Job Vacancies in Britain Break a Record as Furlough Program Nears an End

Job vacancies in Britain climbed to a record in August, rising above one million for the first time, as the labor market continued its uneven recovery, according to data released Tuesday by the Office for National Statistics, the New York Times reported. As Britain emerged from lockdowns, the demand for workers has soared. Every sector is seeking more workers, with restaurants, bars, hotels and other accommodation and food businesses trying to hire the most over the summer. It has helped push the unemployment rate down, to 4.6 percent, and has shrunk the number of people who are out of the work force. Nearly a quarter of a million people were added to company payrolls in August, returning this part of the labor market (which doesn’t include the self-employed) to its prepandemic size, the statistics office said. But not every region had fully recovered. The number of employees was still down in London, in southeast England and in Scotland. And some of the workers on payroll were still receiving wage subsidies from the government’s furlough program. Analysts predict that some of the gains in the labor market will be reversed when the furlough program ends this month, and employers can no longer rely on the government to top up staff wages up to 80 percent for the hours they don’t work. At the end of July, there were 484,000 employers with 1.6 million workers still on furlough. Layoffs are expected; a group representing the travel sector said more than two-thirds of businesses with staff on furlough expect to cut jobs when the program ends. Read more.