U.K. Job Adverts Return to Pre-Pandemic Levels for First Time

Lucy Meakin
·2 min read

(Bloomberg) --

The number of U.K. online job advertisements returned to levels seen before the Covid-19 pandemic for the first time last week, a tentative sign of recovery after economy’s worst slump in three centuries.

Total postings rose to the highest since the beginning of March 2020, before the first national lockdown was imposed, according to April 9 data from the Adzuna jobs website published by the Office for National Statistics.

The largest increases were in legal roles and catering and hospitality jobs. Scotland and London, which has lagged much of the country for new vacancies during the pandemic, saw the biggest surge in volume of postings.

Supporting employment has been a key aim of government policy over the past year, with Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak repeatedly prolonging furlough payments for those whose workplaces were closed during the pandemic. The jobless rate edged up to 5% in the quarter through January, but the number on payrolls have been steadily improving since December despite a third national lockdown.

Non-essential retailers, as well as pubs and restaurants with outdoor space, were allowed to reopen this week as part of a roadmap aimed at helping England return to something close to normal life on June 21. The next major easing of rules will happen from May 17, when indoor hospitality will resume.

Estimates of seated dinner reservations through OpenTable on April 12 climbed to 79% of levels seen on the equivalent Monday in 2019, the ONS said. Until this week, bookings have remained below 2% throughout the latest lockdown. Motor vehicle traffic also rose.

Debit and credit card purchases declined to 83% of their pre-pandemic level in the week to April 8, a decline on the previous week in part due to the recent bank holiday weekend, Bank of England CHAPS clearing house data showed.

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