Record number of people in work as employment surges to pre-Covid levels

All industries have at least as many jobs on offer as they did before Covid struck, said the ONS. Credit: PA

A record number of Britons are in work as company payrolls surged by more than 120,000 above pre-pandemic levels, according to official data.

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

This was 122,000 workers higher than levels seen before before the Covid-19 pandemic struck in February 2020.

There was also a record jump in September as vacancies remained above one million for the second month running, according to the ONS.

The number of workers in employment is now more than it was before the pandemic. Credit: ONS

The data also showed another record quarterly leap in job vacancies - up by 1.1 million between July and September.

According to the ONS's data, all industries have at least as many jobs on offer now as they did before the Covid-19 outbreak in the UK.

Britain’s recovery in the jobs market saw the rate of unemployment fall further to 4.5% as the economy reopened following Covid restrictions between June and August.

Director of economic statistics at the ONS, Darren Morgan, said the figures show “the jobs market has continued to recover from the effects of the coronavirus" as more than 75% were employed.

“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," he added.

"The latest earnings continue to show growth on the year, even after taking inflation into account.

"However, the figures are still being affected by special factors that make it hard to read underlying trends."

Chancellor Rishi Sunak called the figures "encouraging", adding: "The number of expected redundancies remained very low in September, there are more employees on payrolls than ever before and the unemployment rate has fallen for eight months in a row.

"We remain committed to helping people find great work, with an extra £500 million to support hundreds of thousands back into employment and help the lowest-paid to progress in their careers."