EMPLOYMENT in Cardiff and the Vale of Glamorgan surpassed pre-pandemic levels last month as thousands of workers joined the company’s payroll, figures show.
But with the number of job vacancies in the UK hitting an all-time high, employers fear staff shortages will dampen future growth after the lockdown restrictions are lifted.
Data from the Office for National Statistics shows that around 207,884 people in Cardiff and the Vale of Glamorgan were on company payrolls in July, 2,108 (1%) more than in June .
The increase moves the figure above the 207,597 recorded in February of last year – the month before the UK was plunged into its first Covid-19 lockdown.
Data also showed that the median monthly salary of salaried workers in the region rose from £ 1,817 in February last year to £ 1,973 in July this year – an increase of £ 156.
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Across the UK, the number of employees rose by 182,000 between June and July to 28.9 million – but it was still 201,000 less than in February last year.
The ONS has warned that the payroll figures, which do not include the self-employed, are preliminary estimates that may be revised in the coming months.
The Confederation of British Industry said it was showing signs of recovery, but increased demand for workers created a new problem for businesses.
The number of job vacancies in the UK reached nearly one million in the three months to the end of July – the highest estimated quarterly figure since registrations began in 2001.
Companies in the arts, leisure and catering sectors have particularly contributed to the boom in job vacancies.
CBI Employment Officer Jennifer Beckwith said: “With employment rising and unemployment falling, the labor market is showing further signs of recovery.
“Yet, with vacancies at an all time high, employers fear staff shortages will hamper their ability to grow and support the country’s broader economic recovery.”
She said the government should help by funding training for skills in demand and removing barriers that prevent companies from recruiting from overseas.
Separate figures released by the ONS also show that in the local authority area of Vale of Glamorgan, there has been a drop in the number of people claiming unemployment benefits over the past month.
About 3,535 people were receiving unemployment benefits in mid-July, up from 130 compared to 3,665 in mid-June.
That meant 4.3% of the region’s labor force asked for help in July, up from 4.6% a month earlier.
The figures include people aged 16 to 64 receiving Jobseeker’s Allowance and some universal credit applicants, who are unemployed and looking for work or have a job but with low incomes.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak said data for July showed the labor market is recovering nationwide, despite the end of the leave scheme, which will end in September.
He said: “The numbers show our jobs plan is working – saving jobs and getting people back to work.
“I know there could still be some hurdles down the road, but the data is promising – there are now more employees on the payroll than at any time since March 2020 and the number of people on leave is the lowest since the launch of the program. ”