Jobs: demand for workers picks up in early August

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Demand for workers started to rise in the first week of August, recruiters said, offering glimmers of hope for the UK economy.

There were nearly 126,000 new job postings, the highest weekly number since the start of the Covid crisis, the Recruitment and Employment Confederation said.

Jobs in high demand include builders and debt collectors, REC said.

Data from the Bureau of National Statistics also suggests that more ads are being posted.

However, this comes after official figures showed the biggest drop in employment in more than a decade.

The total number of jobs announced in the first week of August was 1.10 million, up from 1.04 million the week before.

Most of the demand was for skilled tradespeople and low-skilled jobs, REC said.

  • Boris Johnson warns of ‘long, long way to go’ for UK economy
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Demand for gardeners rose by nearly a quarter, while construction workers and painters also saw strong increases, all up more than 10%.

“With people spending more time at home, many have sought to beautify their homes and gardens,” said Neil Carberry, CEO of REC.

The growth in demand for painters and decorators, masons and construction workers comes after official figures for June showed the biggest increase in unemployment benefit claimants in these types of jobs, said Matthew Mee, director of workforce intelligence at job analysis firm Emsi.

There were also more job openings for child care positions, commercial vehicle drivers, vehicle cleaners and teachers.

Four of the top ten recruiting locations were in Northern Ireland, while the regions with the most active vacancies included parts of London, Yorkshire, the Midlands and Scotland.

‘Stark History’

However, “with many people going through difficult times because of the pandemic,” demand from creditors and rent collectors has increased by more than 20%, REC said.

There were fewer advertisements for roles such as hairdressers, shop windows, post office workers, tax collectors and restaurant managers.

On Tuesday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson warned the UK had ‘a very long way to go’ before the economy improved after official figures showed the biggest drop in jobs since the crisis financial.

On Thursday, Mr Carberry said: “The latest economic data tells a brutal story of the extent of the foreclosure recession – but now it all depends on how quickly we recover.

“Many businesses will face cash flow difficulties in September and October, so layoffs will be with us for months to come and unemployment will rise.

“But a recovery is underway, as today’s tracker data shows,” he added.

The latest experimental data from the ONS also showed an increase in the number of job postings during the first week of August in fields such as construction, manufacturing and warehouses, after strong declines from March, when the UK lockdown began.

However, vacancy figures were still well below 2019 averages for many industries in the first week of August, according to ONS data.


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