Payrolls have recovered. Pay is rising. Vacancies have soared to record levels. It all sounds very positive, and it’s definitely not bad news, as the Office for National Statistics Jonathan Athow said: “The overall employment rate continues to recover”.
But there’s a fly in the ointment. For unemployment, this latest data may prove to be as good as it gets, at least in the short term.
These are still not normal times for the labour market. Many workers have steadily slid off the furlough scheme, which was meant to put the labour market on life support during the pandemic-triggered lockdowns. But there were still 1.5 million employees using the mechanism ahead of its closure this month, Athow says. That’s a relatively large number of workers, at a part time, or full-time level, to be without such support all at once.
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