BRITAIN’S economy is bouncing back strongly from Covid — creating 400,000 job vacancies in hospitality.

Activity in the private sector picked up at the fastest pace since June 2021 this month, a leading index suggests.

And spending on travel, leisure and entertainment all rose — with a further surge predicted in the wake of PM Boris Johnson scrapping all remaining Covid restrictions in England.

Demand for hospitality staff is now so strong there are an estimated 394,000 vacancies in pubs, bars and restaurants, according to trade body UKHospitality.

That is more than double the total before the pandemic.

The resurgence of the economy is shown by the latest estimates from Markit/CIPS, published yesterday.

Its PMI index, a leading barometer for activity in the private sector, rose to 60.2 last month from 54.2 in January, well above estimates.

A reading above 50 indicates growth.

The PMI for the dominant services sector, including travel, leisure and entertainment, rose to 60.8 from 54.1, again above forecasts.

Gabriella Dickens, senior UK economist at City firm Pantheon Macroeconomics, said: “The sharp rise in the composite PMI in February, to its highest level since June, suggests that the UK economy is rebounding from Omicron at a fair clip.”

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Lloyds Bank senior economist Rhys Herbert added: “The removal of work-from-home guidance across most of the UK in late January has contributed to the rebound in the services sector, leading to increased spending as workers returned to offices.”

But it has created a yawning gap between jobs advertised and workers available to fill them.

Wages are soaring to attract staff but employers are still struggling to recruit

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