THE number of jobs advertised in Southampton has more than halved in a year – but there has been an improvement since June, data suggests.

There were 53.2 per cent fewer vacancies advertised in July than the same month in 2019, according to the online jobs board CV-Library.

However, the number of vacancies had risen 27.4 per cent since June, suggesting the jobs market is slowly picking up.

CV-Library also found applications had risen by 24.3 per cent month on month and by 25.1 per cent year on year.

That meant the ratio of applications to job had soared by 167.4 per cent compared to 2019 but dropped 2.4 per cent since June.

Despite fewer jobs being available, average pay for new jobs in Southampton rose by 8.2 per cent year on year, from £33,454 in July 2019 to £36,207 in July. However, it only grew by 0.7 per cent month on month.

Lee Biggins, founder and chief executive of CV-Library, said: “Demand for jobs is still outstripping supply and this will be a trend that we’ll continue to see for some time.

“Naturally, the summer months tend to be a quieter time for both recruitment and job searching. However, the fact that our economy is struggling means there are less opportunities up for grabs than normal and more people looking for work; not an ideal combination.

“While it’s a promising sign that salaries are higher than they were a year ago, the slow month on month increase in pay for new jobs does suggest that companies are starting to make difficult decisions about their workforce,” he added.

“Candidates may well expect to take a pay cut during an economic downturn, but be prepared to have difficult conversations with applicants who may be expecting more than you can offer right now.”

Across the whole south east, job adverts dropped by 51.6 per cent year on year but rose 34 per cent month on month. Applications rose by 21.8 per cent year on year and 20.3 per cent month on month.

The Bank of England warned last week that unemployment was likely to almost double by Christmas, from the current 1.35million to 2.5m – the highest rate in seven years.

The bank said: “In the MPC’s projections, unemployment rises to around 7.5 per cent by the end of the year as some workers are made redundant and hiring remains subdued. That would represent around 2.5m people out of work and searching for jobs.”