Part-time workers are in demand as more job vacancies arise

Official figures reveal that the number of part-time workers grew in the three months to Oct after dropping sharply during the pandemic.

Part-time workers are in demand as more job vacancies arise

The crisis also saw a decrease in the unemployment rate among those aged 16-24 years old, which was another hard hit group.

After a sharp rise in unemployment last year, the number of job openings is now at an all-time high.

However, the figures were available before the Omicron variant was introduced. Some fear that this may result in restrictions in certain sectors.

According to the Office for National Statistics, the overall unemployment rate dropped to 4.2% in September and August.

"With no sign of the end to the furlough scheme impacting the number of jobs," stated Darren Morgan, head of economic statistics.

Survey findings indicate that part-timers have seen a lot of recent employment growth, which is a significant shift from the beginning of the pandemic. What's the situation with young and part-time workers?

Youth unemployment chart

Part-time workers dropped sharply as businesses faced successive lockdowns. They reached 7.7 million between March and May this year.

However, employers have increased their workforce to 8.07 millions in the three months to Oct., driving the latest quarterly rise in employment.

During the crisis, younger and less experienced workers also had difficulty finding work.

The ONS stated that the unemployment rate for 16-24-year-olds has now returned to pre-pandemic levels at 11.3%. This is down from 14.8% in the July-September period last year.

How about job vacancies?

As the economy recovers, job vacancies have risen over the past six month as employers try to hire more staff.

They reached a new record of 1.22million between September and November - 434,500 more than before the pandemic. The ONS stated that the rate of growth is slowing.

Rob Clarry, an economist with PwC UK, stated that there are "tentative indicators" that the demand for labor could be at its peak.

Is the furlough ending having an impact?

Chart of Unemployment

According to the ONS, there has been no significant increase in unemployment since October's end, taking into account the entire quarter.

Employers in the UK added 257,000 employees to their payrolls last November, bringing it over pre-pandemic levels.

On a monthly basis however, there was an increase in unemployment between October and November of 4% to 4.3%.

The ONS also cautioned workers who were recently made redundant could still be working their notice.

Omicron could make it worse

Clarry stated that it was too early to assess the impact Omicron will have on the labour market.

He said that he expected it to increase consumer demand in contact-intensive industries, like food and hospitality, in the short term. These sectors could see a decrease in labour demand over the next few months. Reed Employment chairman James Reed stated that although there has been much talk about the Omicron variant causing economic disaster, the outlook is now more positive than the March 2020 Covid wave.

"It's the best time in 50-years to search for a job."

Commenting on the most recent job figures, Rishi Sunak, Chancellor, stated: "The employment outlook remains strong due to our PS400bn Economic Support Package, Plan for Jobs, and Fantastic Vaccine Programme.

"To continue safeguarding our economic recovery as well as the lives and livelihoods the British people, I am calling for everyone to play their part and get boosted immediately."

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