The number of vacancies, an estimated 862,000, reached its highest in 15 months in the last quarter. This was 9.9% above the figure for January to March 2020 and 38.8% higher than January to March 2021.
The number of people on payrolls also grew, showing the biggest rise since the start of the pandemic. This figure increased by 356,000 in June to 28.9 million, however, the ONS said this was still 206,000 below pre-pandemic levels.
Redundancies also decreased on the quarter and have returned to pre-pandemic levels. The redundancy rate per 1,000 employees was 3.8 in March to May 2021, compared with 14.4 in September to November 2020.
Jonathan Boys, labour market economist for the CIPD, said: “This is an incredibly strong set of labour market figures. Unemployment isn’t quite at pre-pandemic levels but is heading in that direction fast.
“On some key metrics we are already back to pre-pandemic levels, notably vacancies and redundancies. The dramatic rise and fall of the redundancy rate suggest that the end of furlough will be a smooth transition that won’t result in too many job losses. Indeed, any anxiety over job losses has been replaced by a fear of skills shortages. These are biting hard in some sectors, notably hospitality which has a record number of job vacancies as businesses scramble to reopen hoping for a bumper summers trading.”