Important information: The value of investments and the income from them, can go down as well as up, so you may get back less than you invest.

FOOD, hospitality and transport bosses are desperate - they have between them tens of thousands of vacancies to fill and a battle on their hands to get the job done before we hit the all-important Christmas trading period.

And they are not alone in their hunt for staff. A total of 1.034 million jobs stood empty in the three months to August, according to official data just released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS). Never before, in the 20 years since records began, have more than a million jobs been available in the UK at any one time.

The good news for the UK’s job-hunters is that after months on furlough, or even out of work altogether, they are in demand, with vacancies far out-numbering the number of workers available. ONS figures show that the number of employees on the payroll rose by almost a quarter of a million last month and more people re-joined the labour market.

The ONS data out today show that unemployment fell to 4.6% in the three months to July, in line with analysts’ expectations, and down from 4.7% a month earlier. Based on this data it means that 75.2% of the eligible UK workforce is in employment.

Young people, who typically work in sectors that were hardest hit at the start of the pandemic, have seen a strong increase in employment, with joblessness and inactivity falling. That’s undoubtedly good news for them, and also for the government, which now has the figures it needed to support the withdrawal of wage subsidies and other emergency income support that it had to introduce during lockdown.

More up-to-date data from HM Revenue & Customs also shows that the jobs boom continued in August, with payroll employment up by 241,000 on the month, bringing it in line with pre-pandemic levels.

Food and accommodation businesses saw the biggest jump in the number of jobs available in August, increasing by 57,600.

What it doesn’t explain - or fix - is the shortages in some industries that have already had knock-on effects on consumers and are said to be set to worsen; with supermarket bosses warning that driver shortages need to be fixed before the crucial festive trading period.

For investors, the rise in employment bodes well for businesses to boom - once those vacancies are filled. And they, and the companies themselves, will be hoping that happens in time for Christmas 2021 to make up for what Christmas 2020 failed to deliver.

Important information: Investors should note that the views expressed may no longer be current and may have already been acted upon. This information is not a personal recommendation for any particular investment. If you are unsure about the suitability of an investment you should speak to a Fidelity adviser or an authorised financial adviser of your choice.

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