LONDON, Jan. 18 (Xinhua) -- Job vacancies in Britain from October to December 2021 rose to a new record of 1,247,000, or a rate of more than 4 percent of all jobs, an increase of 462,000 from its pre-coronavirus level in January-March 2020, the country's Office for National Statistics said Tuesday.
Most industries have reported record numbers of vacancies, the office said in a report, adding that the rate of growth in vacancies, however, continued to slow down.
Despite the labor shortage, earnings began to fall. Single-month growth in real average weekly earnings for November 2021 fell for the first time since July 2020, according to the report.
Britain's employment rate increased by 0.2 percentage points in the quarter to 75.5 percent, and the unemployment rate decreased by 0.4 percentage points to 4.1 percent, the report said.
In December 2021 there were 29.5 million people employed in Britain, up 184,000 from the revised November 2021 level and up 409,000 from the pre-pandemic level in February 2020. "All regions are now above pre-coronavirus levels, with Scotland having the largest percentage increase on the month," the office said.
"The good news is that the unemployment rate is now back to within a whisker of its pre-pandemic level but the same cannot be said for the number of people actually employed," said Kitty Ussher, chief economist at the Institute of Directors, a British professional organization.
"The reason for this difference is an increase in the number of people who say they are not available for work -- in fact, the legacy of the pandemic appears to be this rise in economic inactivity," Ussher added.
"Today's data shows inactivity is particularly pronounced in people over the age of 50 with, sadly, a rise in long-term sickness in this group the driving factor," the economist said.