Hundreds more people in work in West Lothian, Falkirk and Edinburgh

Hundreds more local workers joined company payrolls between May and June, new figures reveal – the biggest monthly rise since the start of the Covid pandemic.

Monday, 19th July 2021, 3:21 pm
File photo - PA.

The data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) revealed an estimated 86,122 people in West Lothian were on company payrolls in June, 874 more than in May, and the biggest monthly leap during the 16-month period from February last year – the month before the UK was plunged into its first Covid-19 lockdown. However, June's figure was still 501 down on the number payrolled during February last year.

The ONS data also revealed an estimated 233,659 people in Edinburgh were on company payrolls in June, 3,411 more people than in May, and the biggest monthly leap since February last year. However, June's figure was still 5,378 down on the number from February, 2020.

In the Falkirk council area, an estimated 73,205 people were on company payrolls in June, up 594 from May, and the biggest leap in the last 16 months. However, June's figure was still 1,045 down on the number payrolled in February last year.

Across the UK, there was a 356,000 increase in payrolled workers between May and June – a record since the pandemic started. However, the total number of people on the payroll – 28.9 million people – was still 206,000 down on February 2020.

The payroll data from the ONS is based on people receiving pay through PAYE – HM Revenue and Customs’ system for collecting income tax from salaries. It also provides figures on pay.

In West Lothian, the median salary of payrolled workers dropped by £6 from May to June to £2,043 a month, although still up from February 2020 when it was £1,932 a month.

In Falkirk, the median salary of payrolled workers increased by £5 from May to June to £2,054 a month, continuing the rise from February 2020 when it was £1,939 a month.

In Edinburgh, the median salary of payrolled workers dropped by £26 from May to June to £2,132 a month. It also marked a rise from February 2020 when it was £1,975 a month.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak (Con) declared it a sign the country was “bouncing back”, but businesses leaders have warned of a staffing shortage.

Experts say the figures were driven by a hospitality sector buoyed by the easing of restrictions in May, and allowing the opening of indoor venues for groups up to six people.

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

“However, it is still down on pre-pandemic levels, while a large number of workers remain on furlough.”

Mr Sunak said he looked forward to more people returning to work thanks to a continuing “rebound” of the economy.

He added: “We are bouncing back – the number of employees on payrolls is at its highest level since last April and the number of people on furlough halved in the three months to May.”

A warning has been issued over businesses addressing a skills and staff shortage due to the rising number of Covid cases.

Matthew Percival, director for the Confederation of British Industry, said: “Business’s ability to meet demand, and support the recovery, is being challenged by staff shortages.

“As Covid cases rise, firms are facing the double difficulty of hiring workers and more employees self-isolating.”