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The UK economy is gradually reopening from coronavirus lockdowns.

  • The number of Brits on payrolls surged by 356,000 in June as the economy bounced back from COVID-19.
  • Britain’s economy is gradually reopening, causing the hospitality sector to increase hiring rapidly.
  • However, the unemployment rate ticked up to 4.8% in the three months to May, data showed.
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The number of Brits finding work surged in June as the economy rebounded from COVID-19 lockdowns, with 356,000 added to UK company payrolls compared to May.

It was the biggest increase in payrolls since the start of the pandemic, figures released Thursday by the Office for National Statistics showed.

“The labor market is continuing to recover, with the number of employees on payroll up again strongly in June,” said Darren Morgan, director of economic statistics at the ONS.

“The number of job vacancies continued to rise very strongly. The biggest sector driving this was hospitality, followed by wholesaling and retailing.”

Separate data showed the unemployment rate ticked up to 4.8% in the three months to May, up from 4.7% in the three months to April. It was down from 5% in the previous quarter, however.

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Average pay rose 7.3% in the three months to May compared to a year earlier, up sharply from a 5.7% increase in the three months to April. However, the ONS said pay looked strong due to the comparison with a weak period a year earlier.

The UK economy has gradually reopened from coronavirus lockdowns, with the government loosening restrictions in steps. In May, indoor hospitality at places like pubs and cinemas was allowed to resume, underpinning the economy.

June’s payroll figures were boosted by an increase of 94,000 in accommodation and food jobs, the ONS said.

England’s government is set to end almost all restrictions on July 19, despite soaring cases of the delta COVID-19 variant. Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales are being somewhat more cautious, although have still loosened lockdowns.

The pound was roughly flat against the dollar after the data was released, at $1.386. FTSE 100 futures were down 0.4%.