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Something smile about? UK jobs growth is led by the entertainments sector

The total number of job vacancies in the U.K. has nearly doubled over the past year.

New applications for unemployment insurance rose last week after reaching a new pandemic low, according to data released Thursday by the Labor Department. Image -Pernillan (CC 4.0)
New applications for unemployment insurance rose last week after reaching a new pandemic low, according to data released Thursday by the Labor Department. Image -Pernillan (CC 4.0)

New analysis has revealed which U.K. industries have had the biggest percentage increase in job vacancies over the past year. Generally, the economic signs are positive with available jobs more than tripling in some.

In particular, the arts, entertainment and recreation sector leads the way in opportunities after a 369 percent year-on-year increase in job vacancies when comparing February-April 2021 to the same three months in 2022. This is probably a reflection of COVID-19 economic recovery, given the degree to which the sector shrank during periods of lockdown.

The study of the latest government data has been undertaken by financial comparison site Forbes Advisor, with the analysis passed on to Digital Journal for review.

The analysis finds that the total number of job vacancies in the U.K. has nearly doubled over the past year, going from 665,000 in February, March and April of last year, to just under 1.3 million in the same timeframe this year.

Followed by the broad entertainments sector is accommodation and food services. Her activities has seen the second biggest increase compared to a year ago, as there are now nearly quadruple the jobs available – a climb of 297 percent. There has been an increase of 128,000 vacancies since February-April 2021, going from 43,000 to 171,000.

The industry with the third biggest percentage increase in job opportunities is transport and storage, where vacancies have increased by 128 percent. There are now 57,000 available positions compared to 25,000 one year ago

Overall, the industries with the highest number of vacancies are human health & social work activities, with 212,000, accommodation & food service activities with 171,000, and wholesale & retail trade (including repair of motor vehicles and motorcycles), with 163,000.

Commenting on the figures, a spokesperson from Forbes Advisor tells Digital Journal: “The cost of living crisis is causing a lot of concern across the country, however from an employment point of view these job vacancy statistics are encouraging – there are more opportunities now than there have been in the past 20 years, with vacancies in some industries increasing by more than 10 percent in the last quarter alone.”

The U.K. Industries with the biggest year-on-year percentage increase in job vacancies as shown in the table below.

RankIndustry sectorChange Percentage (%)Change on year (in thousands)Total job vacancies (in thousands)
1Arts, entertainment & recreation368.830171
2Accommodation & food service activities296.512887
3Transport & storage127.73238
4Other service activities123.91449
6Wholesale & retail trade; repair of motor vehicles and motorcycles103.6835
7Motor Trades971051
9Water supply, sewerage, waste & remediation activities90.7478
10Professional scientific & technical activities83.95996

The table also shows that in fourth place are “other service activities”, which includes the activities of membership organizations, and the repair of computers and personal and household goods. The sector had 11,000 vacancies between February and April 2021, an increase of 124 percent to 25,000.  The fifth biggest jump in year-on-year job availability is retail’s 109% increase, from 49,000 to 102,000.

Overall, vacancies have increased across the board, with only electricity, gas, steam and air conditioning supply seeing a slight dip in job availability, which has gone from 6,000 in 2021, to 5,000 this year.

Such data provides a useful benchmark as to the state of a nation’s economy and where the main growth areas are.

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Written By

Dr. Tim Sandle is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for science news. Tim specializes in science, technology, environmental, business, and health journalism. He is additionally a practising microbiologist; and an author. He is also interested in history, politics and current affairs.

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