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Britain’s job vacancies top one MILLION as struggling sectors blame Covid


The number of job openings in Britain has surpassed a million for the first time, with struggling sectors blaming the pandemic and Brexit.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said the increase in available jobs was driven by the hospitality sector, with companies struggling to fill roles.

Figures also show payroll numbers have returned to pre-pandemic levels after rising 241,000 between July and August, 1,000 more than before the outbreak of the crisis.

The ONS also said the unemployment rate fell again to 4.6 percent in the May-July quarter.

The food and housing sector saw the biggest jump in the number of available vacancies in August, at 57,600.

Jonathan Athow, deputy national statistician for economic statistics at the ONS, said: “Early estimates based on wage data suggest that in August the total number of employees will be about the same level as before the pandemic, although our studies show that well over a million are still on leave. .

“However, this recovery is not even: in hard-hit areas like London, and sectors like hospitality and arts and leisure, the workforce remains well below pre-pandemic levels.

The number of employees on the payroll increased by 241,000 between July and August, an increase of 1,000 above the level before the outbreak of the crisis

Overall employment rates continue to recover, especially among groups such as young workers who were hit hard at the start of the pandemic, while unemployment has fallen.

Vacancies reached a new record.

“Not surprisingly this is mainly driven by hospitality, the sector with the highest share of employers reporting their vacancies is difficult to fill.”

Suren Thiru, head of economics at the UK Chamber of Commerce, told the Telegraph: “The job market has continued its summer boom, but record job openings also highlight the acute hiring crisis many companies are facing.

“With Brexit and Covid causing a deeper decline in labor supply, the end of leave is unlikely to be a panacea for the ongoing shortages.

“These recruiting difficulties are likely to dampen the recovery by limiting companies’ ability to fulfill orders and meet customer demand.

“While the peak in unemployment will be lower than in previous downturns, with rising cost pressures and an ever-increasing tax burden stifling corporate recruiting intentions, a notable increase in job losses as leave ends is likely to continue.”

Black Friday and Christmas are threatened by driver shortage, says head of UK’s largest logistics company

The disruption from Britain’s shortage of truck drivers could continue and could even affect Black Friday and Christmas, the head of Britain’s largest logistics company warned.

Wincanton chief executive James Wroath said the transport sector is likely to be further plagued as demand picks up ahead of the start of the Christmas shopping season in late November.

He told the FT: ‘The number of drivers will take time to grow. That’s not going to change anytime soon.

“Right now it’s the calm before the storm.

“The concern will be once the Black Friday and Christmas peaks come.”

The food and housing sector saw the biggest jump in the number of available vacancies in August, at 57,600.

Supermarket bosses have warned that it is vital to solve the labor shortage problems before the Christmas season, while dairy giant Arla said it had to cut back on milk supplies because of the shortages.

Yael Selfin, chief economist at KPMG, added: “While the pressure should ease as more people want to return to work and the furlough scheme ends, the UK job market will remain volatile with vacancies taking time due to skills shortages and reduced availability of resources.” foreign employees.’

Ali Capper, chairman of British apples and pears, exposed the struggles affecting her sector on BBC Radio 4’s Today program this morning.

She said: ‘We advertised locally for 70 fruit pickers and we had 9 applications but at the follow-up only one was available and she has had a job ever since. In terms of recruiting locally, we have completely failed.

“We recruited both directly and through a workforce and we have a mix of Polish, Romanian, Bulgarian, Russian, Ukrainian, a real mix of nice seasonal workers. I must say we don’t have as many as we would like, but they all work very hard and we get the harvest.

“The sector is currently at a crisis point. Fruits and vegetables are picked all year round, but our peak is from April to October and at the moment the entire sector has between 10 and 35% labor shortage.

‘That means that fruit and vegetables are not picked. There is food waste on our farms. And while we have a seasonal worker pilot that’s attracting 30,000 workers, it’s just not enough.

‘We need more license holders. We need more permits and we need to open them up to more sectors such as flowers and floriculture.

“So the industry is really in a really tough position and then I go into the regular roles in our industry and talk to companies in the east yesterday, someone just told me it’s a mess.

He has to change shifts, his own packing station is 24% short and there are serious concerns about the run-up to Christmas. It feels at the moment that the government is only presiding over the chaos in our sector.

Daniel Browne, owner of Blossom and Browne Sycamore, who have a royal warrant to provide hotels in London with laundry and dry cleaning, also said his business was affected.

He explained: ‘We serve about 60 hotels in London and we’ve come to the point where we need to inform customers because we can’t provide the service to them simply because of a lack of employees.

“We just don’t get them. So it’s heartbreaking. We were a very successful business pre-Covid, pre-Brexit and now without the staff we can’t deliver the services and it’s just awful.

“We are raising our wages, but we are still not recruiting workers – the workforce is declining due to Brexit. To give you an idea, a hotel keeper historically cost £9 an hour. They are now offering that job for £15 an hour, but we still can’t find any employees.

‘We are going to change our business model. We’re going to make it smaller and better and we can serve the customers with less staff.

“We are going to do less and earn less, but we have no alternative. We need 30 new employees. We can’t find them.’

Meanwhile, Ocado announced it will spend up to an additional £5million this year on pay increases, recruitment and sign-up bonuses for truck drivers.

The online grocer said the shortage caused by Brexit and the Covid-19 pandemic has become “an increasingly important problem for the sector” and it will try to contain costs where possible.

Bosses also revealed they will hit another £10million this year as a result of a fire at the company’s warehouse in Erith, south-east London, over the summer, knocking around 300,000 orders from customers worth £35million. were cancelled.

Turnover fell 10.6% to £517.5 million in the 13 weeks to August 29, partly as a result of the fire but also due to strong comparisons last year at the height of the pandemic.

Interior Ministry figures show that more than 16,000 workers were shipped from 37 countries for the 2021 season after being recruited by horticultural farmers, including from as far away as Barbados, Nepal, Tajikistan, Kenya and the Philippines (Pictured : fruit pickers collecting strawberries at a farm in Hereford, Herefordshire, in August 2018)

Interior Ministry figures show that more than 16,000 workers were shipped from 37 countries for the 2021 season after being recruited by horticultural farmers, including from as far away as Barbados, Nepal, Tajikistan, Kenya and the Philippines (Pictured : fruit pickers collecting strawberries at a farm in Hereford, Herefordshire, in August 2018)

The company said the period should be looked at in two different halves and that sales in the first six weeks – before the fire – fell by only 1.8%. Over the next seven weeks, sales fell 19%.

It was the third fire at an Ocado warehouse in three years, with its site in Andover, Hampshire, only returning to full operation two years after a fire.

Despite the declines, Ocado said it added 64,000 new customers during the period, totaling 805,000, and increased its weekly orders by 22%.

However, the average basket size had fallen 12% to £124, compared to £141 a year ago.

Bosses is confident the company can continue its strong growth and announce that capacity has increased at its warehouses in Hatfield, Hertfordshire and Dordon, Warwickshire, enabling the completion of 600,000 orders per week.

They also announced plans to open two new warehouses in Luton and Bicester, allowing the company to increase capacity to 700,000 orders per week.

Tim Steiner, Chairman of Ocado Retail, said: “Despite the challenges we faced during the period, I am pleased to report that Ocado Retail is performing well, further improving the customer experience and continuing to grow the business in a post-lockdown environment.” surroundings .’

Chancellor Rishi Sunak discussed today’s numbers: “Today’s statistics show that our Jobs Plan is working – the unemployment rate has fallen for seven months in a row, the number of employees on the payroll is back above pre-pandemic levels and there were fewer potential layoffs reported in August than at any time since early last year.

“As we continue to recover from the pandemic, our focus remains on creating opportunities and supporting people’s jobs.”

Employment Minister Mims Davies added: “As we continue our recovery, it’s great to see unemployment down again significantly and the number of people on payroll increased by 241,000 in August – the biggest monthly increase ever – showing our plan for Jobs to work.

“We help employers recruit for the record number of job openings, especially in growing industries, and support people of all ages and backgrounds to overcome barriers, land their next role and progress on the job.”

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