Coronavirus: Year-high spike in online job adverts signals upturn in demand | Business News

Online job adverts have seen a year-high spike in a sign demand for labour is returning following the coronavirus lockdown.

In the first week of August the total volume of vacancies on offer increased from 53% to 62% of its 2019 average, the largest weekly increase in 2020, according to the Office for National Statistics.

This marks a departure from the previous trend, where online job adverts had remained close to half their 2019 average since the second week of June, said the ONS.

‘No crystal ball’ on future of UK economy

The upturn offers a rare glimmer of light in an otherwise gloomy economic outlook following confirmation the UK had dived into its largest recession on record and figures showing 730,000 jobs had been lost since the coronavirus lockdown began.

The ONS’s latest survey of the impact of the COVID-19 crisis based its data on adverts provided by the online job search engine Adzuna.

Out of the 29 vacancy categories, 24 saw increases compared with the previous week.

The category of transport, logistics and warehousing experienced the largest hike, rising 46 points to 117% of its 2019 average.

This is its fifth consecutive week of growth, starting from just 33% of its 2019 average five weeks ago.

The next largest increase was 31 percentage points in the category of facilities and maintenance, which rose to 136% of its 2019 average.

In contrast, the category with the largest fall was creative, design, arts and media, which dropped by more than two percentage points to 41% of its 2019 average.

The volume of online job adverts in education remained unchanged at 77% of its 2019 average.

The figures also showed the number of online job adverts increased in every country and region in the UK in the first week of August.

Other data published by the ONS revealed more than half of UK firms had reported a fall in turnover, with more than one in ten saying it has at least halved.

The survey found some 54% of firms said they saw a decline in turnover for the two weeks to 26 July.

Firms in the North East of England were the worst-affected, with 61% of companies in the region saying turnover had decreased.

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Across the UK, around a third (32.2%) of firms said turnover had fallen by at least 20%, with 12.3% of companies saying it has fallen by more than half.

The new figures also revealed 10.9% of firms in the UK reported an increase in turnover despite the coronavirus pandemic.

The survey also showed that 29% of companies said operating costs were equal to or more than their turnover over the period.

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