EMPLOYERS added 207,000 staff to their payrolls in September, shortly before the end of furlough, new figures showed.
The number of payrolled employees surged to a record 29.2 million after dropping during the pandemic.
The new employees were added to the payroll just before the coronavirus jobs retention scheme – or furlough – ended on September 30.
The increase in payrolled employees between September 2020 and last month was largest in the administrative and support services sector – a rise of 288,000 employees.
The transportation and storage sector has suffered the worst – recording a fall of 14,000 employees.
Separate official data from the Office for National Statistics showed the unemployment rate was 4.5% in the three months to August.
That is 0.5 percentage points higher than before the pandemic, but 0.4 percentage points lower than the previous three months.
Darren Morgan, director of economic statistics at the ONS, said: "The jobs market has continued to recover from the effects of the coronavirus, with the number of employees on payroll in September now well exceeding pre-pandemic levels.
"Vacancies also reached a new one-month record in September, at nearly 1.2 million, with our latest estimates suggesting that all industries have at least as many jobs on offer now as before the onset of Covid-19.
"The latest earnings continue to show growth on the year, even after taking inflation into account.
"However, the figures are still being affected by special factors that make it hard to read underlying trends."
Minister for employment Mims Davies said: “With unemployment falling once again, and another record rise in the number of workers on employer payrolls, it's clear our plan to create, support and protect jobs is working.
“As we enter the next phase of recovery, the £500m boost to our Plan for Jobs will continue to deliver more skills and opportunities for people up and down the country whilst crucially helping to fill vacancies across growing sectors as we push to build back better.”
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