HUNDREDS more workers joined company payrolls in Warrington between May and June, new figures reveal.

The rise in those employed was in fact the biggest monthly rise since the start of the Covid pandemic.

A leap in payrolled workers across the UK shows firms hired more people after indoor hospitality reopened and ahead of the final lifting of restrictions on July 19.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak declared it a sign the country was ‘bouncing back’, but businesses leaders have warned of a staffing shortage.

Data from the Office for National Statistics reveals an estimated 99,600 people were on company payrolls in June.

That was 666 more people 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 1,180 down on the number payrolled in Warrington during 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 – 28.9million people – was still 206,000 down on February 2020.

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.”