The number of workers on payrolls surged by 97,000 between March and April and job vacancies rose as shops and outdoor dining resumed with the lifting of lockdown restrictions.
The economy jumped back to life as the number of payroll workers in the UK increased for the fifth month in a row in April, according to data by the Office for National Statistics (ONS).
The overall rate of unemployment also fell to 4.8% in January to March.
However, there were 772,000 fewer workers on payrolls than before the pandemic, showing the toll taken by the crisis on the jobs market.
Darren Morgan, director of economic statistics at the ONS, said: “The number of employees on payroll rose strongly in April as the economy began to reopen, continuing the improvement from its November trough.
“There remains, however, three quarters of a million people fewer on the payroll compared with the pre-pandemic peak.
“With many businesses reopening, the recent recovery in job vacancies continued into April, especially in sectors such as hospitality and entertainment.
“The renewed lockdown at the beginning of 2021 saw a sharp rise in the number of previously unemployed people no longer looking for work, helping the unemployment rate to fall on the quarter.
“This mirrored what happened during the first lockdown.”