UK employers are finding vacancies harder to fill than ever, with new government figures showing 635,900 unfilled jobs in the first three months of 2005, up 7,500 (1.2%) on the same period last year.
The Office for National Statistics estimates that more than 10,000 new vacancies are placed at Jobcentres every working day.
The outlook is getting tougher for employers looking to hire, with 28.6 million people in work, up 196,000 on a year ago. Unemployment has fallen 37,000 to just under 1.4 million.
Redundancies have also hit a new low, reflecting how keen employers are to keep their staff. There were 127,000 redundancies in February to April, compared to 139,000 in the same period in 2004.
Work and pensions secretary, David Blunkett, welcomed the latest statistics.
“The figures tell a positive story about the British labour market,” he said. “They demonstrate our success in creating more jobs, cutting unemployment and moving people into work – particularly people who have in the past been outside the labour market.”