BRADFORD saw its biggest rise in employment since before the Covid-19 pandemic last month, the latest job figures reveal.

Data from the ONS shows there were an estimated 205,708 people on company payrolls in Bradford in June, up 2,673 from May, the biggest monthly rise since February 2020.

June’s figure was also 612 workers higher than in February last year, as more jobs are being created with the limited reopening of hospitality ahead of the full reopening on Monday.

The figures also reveal how pay has changed in the district, with median monthly salary in June rising by £4 from May, and £101 higher than pre-Covid.

Across the UK, the number of employees rose 356,000 from May to June, a record since the pandemic began, but the total number is still 206,000 down from pre-Covid.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak said the figures are a sign the country was “bouncing back”, but businesses have warned of a staffing shortage and more staff having to self-isolate as Covid case numbers rise.

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.”

But 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.”