19 Nov 2021There were 160,000 more workers on payrolls in October than in September despite the end of the furlough scheme, according to the latest figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS). Job vacancies also hit a record high of 1.17 million in the three months to October as firms continued to struggle with worker shortages. The UK economy is recovering from pandemic-era lows, but inflation remains a concern. Additionally, the unemployment rate has fallen to 4.3%, near to its pre-pandemic level. Suren Thiru, Head of Economics at the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), said: 'The marked rise in payroll employment suggests that the end of furlough had little effect on the UK jobs market in October, as demand for labour continued to surge. 'Record job vacancies suggest that the chronic staff shortages encountered by businesses are intensifying and this could derail the recovery by forcing firms into a more long-lasting decline in their operating capacity. 'Although earnings growth remains elevated, achieving wage increases over a sustained period is likely to prove challenging without a marked improvement in productivity and an easing of the cost pressures faced by firms.'