(Bloomberg) -- British employers stepped up recruitment last week in preparation for a rush at Christmas, bringing the summer lull in hiring to a swift end.

The Recruitment and Employment Confederation said 2.08 million new jobs were advertised in the week to Aug. 28, the highest figure for 2022 and the second-highest on record.

The figures suggest labor shortages that have plagued the economy since the end of the furlough program last year continue to pose a major problem for business. That may embolden the Bank of England to deliver big interest-rate increases despite growing concerns about a recession.

“Across the UK, labor and skills shortages mean jobs are taking longer to fill,” the REC said in a statement on Friday. 

All occupations in the UK recorded notable increases in job postings, with the exception of dancers, actors and entertainers, REC said. All regions saw an increase, too.

Neil Carberry, chief executive of the REC, said there was a surge in new job postings in late August as “people return from holidays, combined with preparation for the Christmas peak in manufacturing and logistics.”

Research released by the Bank of England on Thursday underscored the tightness of the labor market. Its Decision Maker Panel survey of finance directors showed that 86% of firms were finding it harder to recruit new employees than normal. Of those, 63% said it was “much harder.”

They reported that average wage growth was 6.4% over year to August. That’s expected to ease to 5.5% in the next 12 months.

“It is still a good time to be looking for a job,” Carberry said. “The number of active job vacancies reflects a shortage of candidates for many key roles.”

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