MORE than 1,000 more workers joined company payrolls throughout South Lakeland and east Cumbria between May and June, new figures reveal – the biggest monthly rise since the start of the 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.

The data from the Office for National Statistics revealed an estimated 116,886 people were on company payrolls in June.

That was 1,327 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 239 down on the number payrolled in east Cumbria 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 – 28.9 million people – was still 206,000 down on February 2020.