Wednesday 19 August 2020 12:01 am

UK job vacancies rise 50 per cent in July but sectors still suffering

The number of job vacancies in the UK rose markedly in July and August, suggesting some areas and sectors have seen an economic rebound, although the number of openings is still far below its pre-crisis levels, new analysis has shown.

New vacancies rose more than 50 per cent in July, according to the think tank the Institute for Employment Studies (IES) the Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF) charity. More than 169,000 vacancies were placed in the first week of August.

Read more: UK unemployment: 730,000 Brits lose their jobs in lockdown

But there are still nearly half a million fewer vacancies than at the start of the coronavirus crisis. And openings are running at just one third of the level that they were at this time last year, according to the two organisations’ analysis of postings on job website Adzuna.

“There are definite signs that parts of the job market have weathered the storm and are now showing signs of recovery,” said Dave Innes, head of economics at the JRF.

“But as before, that recovery is uneven,” he added. “In areas where there are many people out of work for every vacancy, the government’s ‘plan for jobs’ will have to create new opportunities for people to feel the benefits of recovery.”

JRF calls for targeted employment support

The analysis comes as policymakers and the public fret over unemployment. Economists say there is likely to be a wave of joblessness as the government’s support schemes are wound down.

Data last week showed that the number of people in work in the UK fell at the fastest rate since 2009 in the three months through June.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak intends to wind down the job retention scheme, which has supported more than 9m jobs, in October.

However, various groups are warning that this will lead to an unnecessary surge in unemployment. Many are calling for more targeted schemes that will help the hardest hit industries like hospitality and tourism.

The IES/JRF report said vacancies were highest in heathcare and nursing, IT and teaching. But it said the lowest were to be found in charity work, energy and travel. 

The JRF called on the government to provide “targeted support for areas whose vacancies rates are recovering more slowly”. 

Read more: UK falls into worst recession after record 20.4 per cent GDP plunge

“This support should particularly focus on adults over 25 with fewer formal qualifications, women and black, asian and minority ethnic communities whose work has borne the brunt of the effects of lockdown.

“The UK government must also go further on its job creation programmes so that they better reflect the scale of risk facing many groups of workers.”