COVID-19: Hotels, bars and restaurants go on fastest hiring spree for more than five years

Companies such as hotels, bars, restaurants, travel and leisure firms are taking on workers at the strongest rate since late 2015 as hopes for an economic bounce-back grow, new figures suggest

A CBI survey pointed to a bounce in jobs growth for Britain’s consumer-facing services sector.

The poll showed a balance of +38% when firms were asked about whether they employed more or fewer people in the three months to May, up from -47% in the three months to February.

That was despite business volumes continuing to decline – over a period which started when Britain was still under full lockdown.

Firms were buoyed by optimism about the months ahead, which rebounded strongly to its highest level in seven years.

The positive sentiment was echoed by the business and professional services sector, where optimism surged to the highest level on record.

Firms in this part of the economy – which includes accountancy, legal and marketing firms – are already seeing volume growth, again at a record level.

Altogether, the services sector dominates the UK economy, representing four-fifths of output.

Potential clouds on the horizon include anticipation of higher costs and, in consumer services, worries about labour shortages.

CBI principal economist Ben Jones said: “With the reopening roadmap on track and the vaccine rollout delivering, it’s no surprise to see an uptick in optimism across the sector.

“Both sub-sectors are expecting strong business growth over the next few months as restrictions continue to lift.”

Britain’s economy recorded its biggest slump for three centuries last year thanks to the coronavirus pandemic and contracted again in the first quarter as lockdowns extended into the new year.

But it is predicted to bounce back in 2021 with the strongest growth since the Second World War while fears about the scale of unemployment created by the pandemic have faded.

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