The number of UK workers on payrolls rose by 182,000 between June and July to 28.9 million, just shy of the pre-pandemic peak, while unemployment levels appear to be flatlining.
Yet, while the winding up of Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s furlough scheme in just over 50 days on September 30 will be another critical test, the number of job vacancies – currently 953,000 – now stands at a record level.
Anecdotally, manufacturing and engineering firms in this region are looking to recruit the best young staff available as an investment in the future while the rate of construction work in cities like Leeds is frenetic.
And this pace of growth is likely to continue if the reopening of schools next month, and start of a new academic year, coincides with far more people choosing to return to their workplace as a matter of routine.
As such, it is important to note the significance – and importance – of the return to schools in Scotland this week and whether its public health contingencies are sufficiently robust to stop a new spike in Covid cases.
On one of the few times where Scotland’s experience will shape the response of the rest of Britain, it is also to be hoped that this is one of those occasions where there’s genuine co-operation and collaboration between Nicola Sturgeon and Boris Johnson.
For, if education and the wider economy can reopen safely in the coming weeks, it will be to the benefit of the whole United Kingdom.