As the economy continues to recover from the pandemic, job vacancies have reached record numbers.
The figures in the three months before August rose above one million for the first time since 2001.
The ONS deputy statistician, Jonathan Athow, said: “Early estimates from payroll data suggest that in August the total number of employees is around the same level as before the pandemic, though our surveys show well over a million are still on furlough.”
However, Mr Athow pointed out that recovery is not even. Areas such as London and sectors such as the arts are still disproportionately down.
“The overall employment rate continues to recover, particularly among groups such as young workers who were hard hit at the outset of the pandemic, while unemployment has fallen,” he said.
Overall, the unemployment rate fell from 4.7% to 4.6% in the three months to July.
Suren Thiru, head of economics at the British Chambers of Commerce said, however, that firms were currently facing an “acute hiring crisis”.
“With Brexit and Covid-19 driving a more deep-seated decline in labour supply, the end of furlough is unlikely to be a silver bullet to the ongoing shortages,” he said.
“These recruitment difficulties are likely to dampen the recovery by limiting firms’ ability to fulfil orders and meet customer demand.”
The food and accommodation sectors saw the biggest jump in the number of jobs available in August, increasing by 57,600.