Employers scrambling to hire staff amid widespread labour shortages after lockdown helped to return the number of workers on company payrolls to pre-pandemic levels in August, official figures show.

The Office for National Statistics said the number of payroll employees increased by 241,000 to 29.1 million in August, lifting employment in all regions of the UK to pre-Covid levels except in London, Scotland and south-east England.

It came as the number of job vacancies soared to more than 1m in August for the first time since official records began in 2001, rising by 35% in the space of three months across all sectors of the British economy.

Reflecting difficulty hiring staff after lockdown for a wide range of businesses across Britain, the ONS said the largest increase was in accommodation and food services – the sector which includes hotels, pubs and restaurants – with a 75% increase over the past three months.

UK payroll employees chart

Business leaders have warned that shortages of workers and raw materials will hold back Britain’s economic recovery from the pandemic, with lobby groups calling for looser post-Brexit migration rules to enable firms to hire more staff from the EU.

The number of EU nationals working in Britain has dropped during the pandemic as many workers returned to their home countries, while ongoing concerns around Covid, pandemic restrictions, and post-Brexit migration rules have limited their return.

Despite the rise in the number of payrolled employees in August, which is collected from HMRC data, the ONS said employment in the UK still remained below pre-Covid levels in official data gathered in its labour force survey in the three months to July.

Unemployment was estimated at 4.6%, a drop of 0.3 percentage points on the previous quarter but still 0.6 percentage points higher than before the pandemic struck.

UK job vacancies chart

Employment, which measures the proportion of people aged 16 to 64 in work, rose steadily to 75.2% in the three months to the end of July, but remains 1.3 percentage points lower than pre-Covid levels.

The official headline rates differ from the HMRC payroll numbers because they are based on surveys rather than company filings and cover a three-month period. The HMRC figures also exclude self-employment and may double count some workers who have more than one job.

About 1.6m jobs were still furloughed at the end of July, according to the latest data published by HMRC last week, with the highest numbers in sectors of the economy where pandemic restrictions are toughest. More than half of the total workforce in air passenger transport remains on furlough, while there are also large numbers in the arts and leisure industries.

Nye Cominetti, the senior economist at the Resolution Foundation, said self-employment remains 700,000 down on pre-Covid levels, adding that as many as 1 million employees could still be on furlough when the scheme closes at the end of this month.

“There is still ground to make up in the labour market. With the furlough scheme ending

(CNN) — Island destinations from the Caribbean Sea to the Indian Ocean joined a handful of Eastern European countries among the latest places deemed “very high” risk for travel by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Grenada, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Mauritius, Albania and Serbia on Monday moved to the “Level 4: Covid-19 Very High” category on the CDC’s evolving list of travel notices.

Afghanistan, which has been in turmoil since the Taliban takeover and US withdrawal last month, also moved to Level 4, along with several more destinations.

People should avoid traveling to locations designated with the “Level 4: Covid-19 Very High” notice, the CDC recommends. Anyone who must travel should be fully vaccinated first, the agency advises.

• Afghanistan
• Albania
• Belize
• Grenada
• Lithuania
• Mauritius
• Saint Kitts and Nevis
• Serbia
• Slovenia

The CDC’s travel notices range from Level 1 (“low”) to Level 4 (“very high”).

Destinations that fall into the “Covid-19 Very High” Level 4 category have had more than 500 cases per 100,000 residents in the past 28 days, according to CDC criteria.

All of the destinations listed above moved up from “Level 3: Covid-19 High.”

The Level 3 category applies to destinations that have had between 100 and 500 cases per 100,000 residents in the past 28 days.

Israel was also listed as a Level 4 update on Monday afternoon. However, Israel was already listed in the Level 4 category before the weekly update. The CDC has not immediately responded to CNN’s request for clarification.

New ‘Level 3’ destinations

Four other destinations moved to the Level 3 category on Monday: Australia, Brazil, Ethiopia and Romania.

Brazil moved down from Level 4, while Australia, Ethiopia and Romania were previously listed in the Level 2 “moderate” category.

Australia has recently struggled to contain an outbreak of the highly contagious Delta variant, which has spread to the major population centers of Sydney, Melbourne and Canberra, leading to lengthy lockdowns.

In its broader travel guidance, the CDC has recommended avoiding all international travel until you are fully vaccinated.

“Fully vaccinated travelers are less likely to get and spread Covid-19. However, international travel poses additional risks, and even fully vaccinated travelers might be at increased risk for getting and possibly spreading some Covid-19 variants,” the agency said.

Top image: Aerial view of Sandy Island, Carriacou, Grenada (Adobe Stock Photo). CNN’s Ben Westcott contributed to this report.

Behind a pair of goals from Riley Intrator, the Smith Academy boys soccer team earned a 2-1 road win over Hopkins Saturday afternoon.

With both teams still scoreless halfway through the match, Ben Hudzik changed that by connecting with Intrator for his then first goal of the season.

As the Falcons continued to cling to their slim 1-0 lead nearing the 60-minute mark, Intrator struck again. However, this time, Griffin Goldman was awarded the assist to extend their team’s cushion to 2-0.

During the match’s final minutes, Andrew Ciaglo helped the Golden Hawks avoid being shutout behind his first goal of the year.

In the end, it wasn’t enough as Smith Academy claimed its season-opener while Hopkins has dropped two consecutive games since defeating Renaissance Tuesday.

The Falcons will now welcome Pioneer Valley to town on Wednesday, Sept. 15, at 4 p.m., while the Golden Hawks travel to face Greenfield scheduled for the same time on Monday, Sept. 13.

Boys Soccer

Saturday, Sep. 11

CHURCHILL

Westfield 5, Amherst 5 – Box Score

Frontier 4, Mount Greylock 0 – Box Score

Ludlow 3, Pittsfield 0 – Box Score

Minnechaug 2, Pope Francis 1 – Box Score

HOLLEY

West Springfield 8, Chicopee Comp 0 – Box Score

MORIARTY

Frontier 4, Mount Greylock 0 – Box Score

SCHMID

Smith Academy 2, Hopkins 1 – Box Score

Springfield International Charter School 10, Athol 0 – Box Score

SMITH

Westfield 5, Amherst 5 – Box Score

Ludlow 3, Pittsfield 0 – Box Score

Minnechaug 2, Pope Francis 1 – Box Score

West Springfield 8, Chicopee Comp 0 – Box Score

Girls Soccer

Saturday, Sep. 11

GRIEVE

Mount Greylock 5, Ware 0 – Box Score

PIONEER NORTH

Amherst 9, Springfield International Charter School 0 – Box Score

PIONEER SOUTH

Hopkins 5, Lee 1 – Box Score

Boys Cross Country

Saturday, Sep. 11

PIONEER NORTH

Easthampton 27, Springfield International Charter School 29 – Box Score

Girls Cross Country

Saturday, Sep. 11

PIONEER NORTH

Springfield International Charter School 24, Easthampton 33 – Box Score

Field Hockey

Saturday, Sep. 11

SUBURBAN

Longmeadow 2, Cicero-North Syracuse 1 – Box Score

Girls Volleyball

Saturday, Sep. 11

CENTRAL

Ware 3, Springfield International Charter School 1 – Box Score

Donna Pearson is one of the estimated 2,000 nurses in Mississippi who left a full-time hospital job during the pandemic.

“We work hard and just weren’t seeing the benefits,” Pearson said.

Many — like Pearson — have just gone to another hospital, as a traveler.

“I’m going to follow the money,” she said. And the money, she said, is crazy.

The job market for nurses is way out of whack. Traveling registered nurses are making far more than full-time staffers doing the same job. And that’s causing staffers to hit the road to take a traveling gig, only to be replaced by an expensive traveler.

The escalating pay is a product of — and partially responsible for — staffing trouble in hospitals that has exceeded critical levels in recent weeks, especially in the undervaccinated South. 

Traveling nurses have always made more than full-time nurses at hospitals and usually get a stipend for meals and lodging. But now, it’s many times more. Pearson is headed to Midland, Texas, where she’ll make over $120 an hour. 

Recruiters are regularly luring nurses with contracts exceeding $5,000 a week.

Subsidized by federal relief funds

How can hospitals afford it? Several Southern states, including Texas and Mississippi, are using their federal COVID-19 relief money to help the facilities pay the ever-rising rates. The state Pearson is leaving is simultaneously bringing in 1,000 traveling nurses at a cost of $10 million a week.

Texas is up to nearly 4,000 travel nurses funded by the government, said Carrie Kroll with the Texas Hospital Association.

But for the hospitals, there are downsides to relying so heavily on high-paid travelers — mostly morale. 

“It does take its toll,” Kroll said.

In Texas, Kroll said, some hospitals are offering staff nurses retention bonuses. But it’s nothing like the money the same hospitals are paying these temporary nurses, who often need some help getting up to speed.

And it’s the lower-paid staff nurses who do the training.

“It is infuriating”

“When you have nurses working on a bedside and they’ve committed to staying, and their colleagues are leaving and are coming and making a lot more money than they are, I think it’s hard when you’re in this environment and you’ve been dealing with COVID day after day,” she said.

“Hard” is not the word Taylor Wylie uses. She’s an intensive care unit nurse in Nashville, Tennessee.

“I mean, it is just infuriating that they are willing to pay these travelers beaucoup dollars,” she said.

It seems like the only way to get a pandemic payday is to leave, Wylie said, even though the hospital will likely have to fill the vacancy with a pricey traveler.

“Just within the past couple of weeks, we’ve had so many nurses put in their two weeks and go travel,” she said. “I’ve seen contracts upwards of $10,000 to $12,000 a week because hospitals are so desperate for staff.”

Projected nurse shortage

The nursing workforce is projected to fall short of

Inner-county matchups Dunnellon at Vanguard and North Marion at West Port will highlight a seven-game slate this week.

Included in the schedule is the first game of the season for St. John, as well as a battle of unbeatens at Lake Weir.

All games start at 7:30 p.m., unless otherwise indicated

Dunnellon (0-1) at Vanguard (2-0)

FIRST DOWN: The Tigers were off last week, while the Knights defeated West Port, 21-0, last Friday.

SECOND DOWN: DHS has won three straight in this series, including two in 2020 (one on each home field) by a combined five points. Those were VHS’s only losses last year. The first game concluded with a memorable touchdown pass from Dunnellon’s Trent Townsend to LJ Fitzpatrick. The second one came in the FHSAA playoffs and ended the Knights’ season. Townsend played hurt and gave a gutty performance that night at Booster Stadium.

THIRD DOWN: Want an individual matchup to watch? Keep an eye on when Vanguard cornerback Emile Sancho is lined up on Fitzpatrick. Those are two of the county’s best at their positions.

FOURTH DOWN: Dunnellon will host Crystal River next Friday, while the Knights will host Miami Carol City.

North Marion (1-0) at West Port (0-2), 7 p.m.

FIRST DOWN: The Colts were unable to play last week due to COVID-19, while the Wolf Pack fell to Vanguard, 21-0.

SECOND DOWN: In their team’s opener against Forest, NMHS juniors Christopher Foster and Elija Walton combined to make seven receptions for 163 yards and three touchdowns.

THIRD DOWN: West Port likely is on the short list of teams statewide who had the toughest opposition in its first two weeks. Prior to facing always-tough VHS, WPHS was beaten by Tampa Jesuit, which turned around and knocked off national powerhouse Fort Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas a week later.

FOURTH DOWN: The Colts are scheduled to have next week off, but could be looking for a replacement game for Week Two. West Port will visit Forest next Friday.

Gainesville (1-1) at Trinity Catholic (0-1), 7 p.m.

FIRST DOWN: The Hurricanes defeated Orlando Bishop Moore, 14-6, last Friday, while the Celtics lost 38-19 at Clearwater Central Catholic.

SECOND DOWN: GHS will be spending two of its first three Friday nights in Marion County this year. The Hurricanes were defeated by Vanguard, 30-8, at Booster Stadium in the season opener.

THIRD DOWN: Trinity will look to get off to a better start this week. At CCC last Friday, the Celtics fell behind 31-7 at the half. They actually won the second half, 12-7, but climbing all the way back was a big ask.

FOURTH DOWN: Gainesville will visit Palm Coast Matanzas next Friday, while Trinity Catholic will host Tampa Carrollwood Day.

Belleview (2-0) at Crystal River (0-2), 7 p.m.

FIRST DOWN: The Rattlers won at Bronson, 64-8, last Friday, while the Pirates were beaten 49-7 at The Villages.

SECOND DOWN: Belleview is averaging 48.5 points through two games, but don’t let that overshadow the Rattlers’ defense. BHS already

In July, the number of jobs available in the United States climbed to 10.9 million, a new record high, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Wednesday.

Health care and social assistance added the most positions, followed by finance and insurance, as well as hotels and restaurants.

America’s tight labor market continues to face a staggering disconnect between the number of jobs available and the number of people out of work.

Even as managers across the board are looking for workers, the number of hires stood at just 6.7 million in July.

While companies are ramping up efforts to rehire staff to meet demand and reopen fully, workers remain worried about the virus risk and child care availability. The generous pandemic-era jobless benefits, along with the sheer number of jobs available, also create conditions in which workers can afford to wait for a better job rather taking the first one that comes along.

But now the Delta variant is threatening to exacerbate the mismatch.

In August, the economy added just 235,000 jobs, far fewer than economists had expected. Restaurants and bars even lost jobs as rising Covid-19 cases are on the rise due to the more infectious Delta variant.

But the BLS report on job openings lags the government’s monthly jobs tally. So it will take a little longer until the full scale of Delta’s impact on this summer will become clear.

The job openings report “provides a different picture of the labor market … but it is decidedly a bit out of date as fast-changing as the recovery and pandemic has been the last year and a half,” said Elise Gould at the Economic Policy Institute.

What Wednesday’s report can tell us is this: “Demand for workers was still growing before the Delta variant impacted the US economy,” said Nick Bunker, director of research at the Indeed Hiring Lab, in emailed comments.

America’s leisure and hospitality industry bore the brunt of the pandemic job losses, but its recovery was also rampant. This was still true in July, when particularly hotels and restaurants added job openings.

“The big uncertainty is how much of a blow did the latest surge in the pandemic deal to demand,” Bunker added.

(CNN) — Two tropical islands half a world apart and popular with tourists — Jamaica in the Caribbean and Sri Lanka in South Asia — are now among the highest-risk destinations for travelers.

That’s according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s travel advisories list, which was updated on Tuesday.

Also joining the bulging highest-risk list during a global swell of Delta variant cases is the isolated nation of Brunei on the island of Borneo.

People should avoid traveling to locations designated with the “Level 4: Covid-19 Very High” notice, the CDC recommends. Anyone who must travel should be fully vaccinated first, the agency advises.

How the CDC ranks nations

An aerial view of Kingston, Jamaica. The popular Caribbean island has been hit with a surge of Covid-19 cases recently.

An aerial view of Kingston, Jamaica. The popular Caribbean island has been hit with a surge of Covid-19 cases recently.

Valery Sharifulin/TASS/Getty Images

The CDC’s evolving list of travel notices ranges from Level 1 (“low”) to Level 4 (“very high”).

Destinations that fall into the “Covid-19 Very High” Level 4 category have had more than 500 cases per 100,000 residents in the past 28 days, according to CDC criteria. The Level 3 category applies to destinations that have had between 100 and 500 cases per 100,000 residents in the past 28 days.

Jamaica’s Covid-19 vaccination campaign has had low numbers so far, with only 19 doses given per 100 people as of Tuesday. It has been in a series of curfews since late August with “no-movement” days in hopes of slowing the virus’ spread.
Sri Lanka has seen a swell in cases recently despite having one of Asia’s stronger vaccination campaigns, with 102 doses administered per 100 people as of Tuesday. By comparison, its much larger neighbor India has only given 49 doses per 100 people.

Other popular destinations on Level 4

A view of the Peloponnese in Greece, which is at the CDC's highest risk level.

A view of the Peloponnese in Greece, which is at the CDC’s highest risk level.

Suzanne Plunkett/CNN

Some of the most visited vacation spots around the world occupy a spot on the CDC’s Level 4 list. That includes Covid-ravaged Brazil, which has occupied a spot there for months. Other popular nations currently considered the highest risk include:

— The Bahamas
— Costa Rica
— France
— Greece
— Iceland
— Ireland
— Malaysia
— Portugal
— South Africa
— Spain
— Thailand
— Turkey
— United Kingdom.

You may click here to see all Level 4 nations, plus the other three levels as well.

Level 3: High risk

Also on Tuesday, 10 nations were newly assigned to the CDC’s “Level 3: Covid-19 High” category. A big mover popular with the luxury travel set was the little Caribbean resort island of Anguilla.

It had been at “Level 1: Low” and had maintained strict protocols on arriving tourists throughout the pandemic. Visitors must be fully vaccinated to enter and still must take a Covid-19 test and quarantine.

The other places moved up to Level 3 on Tuesday were:

— Antigua and Barbuda (up from Level 2)
— Benin (up from Level 1)
— Ghana (up from Level

If you’ve been putting off visiting Ireland, it just may be time to start planning a trip. That’s because Ireland’s prime minister recently announced the country plans to drop almost all of its COVID-19 restrictions in October.

“Because of the effort of our vaccination team and because you have stepped up to the mark and taken the vaccine when it was offered, we are now entering a whole new phase of the pandemic,” Prime Minister Micheál Martin said in a televised address, Reuters reports.

More than 88 percent of Ireland’s citizens who are over 18 are fully vaccinated from COVID-19, according to the prime minister’s office. Almost 92 percent of the country’s citizens over the age of 18 have received at least one dose of the vaccine.

A Strict Lockdown

For months, Ireland maintained what some people called the most stringent COVID-19 restriction in Europe. That all changed this summer.

On July 19, Ireland adopted the European Union’s COVID-19 certificate so citizens could travel to the EU — and visitors could travel from the EU to Ireland. What’s more, people from Britain and the U.S. were able to travel to Ireland then as well. 

“This is an important time for us all,” Prime Minister Martin said at the time during a national address, a BBC article reported. “After the trauma of the last 15 months, we are finally taking definite steps toward enjoying normal times with friends and loved ones again. We are almost back to a point where we can enjoy the ordinary and extraordinary moments in our lives; the excitement and relief is palpable.”

Dropping Restrictions

“Subject to the continuation of this [vaccination] progress, we will enter a final phase on October 22, which is likely to last until at least next Spring,” the prime minister’s office explained in a statement. “This phase will see the majority of restrictions lifted and replaced by guidance and advice to enable us to work together to protect ourselves and to live our lives to the fullest extent possible.”

Even so, the statement does go on to caution that “we will need to continue to monitor the ongoing risk from the disease and take steps individually and collectively in our everyday lives to keep this risk under control.”

Here’s how restrictions will be eased:

Beginning on September 6, organized indoor events and mass gatherings in Ireland can take place with venue capacity limits of 60 percent — when all attendees are vaccinated or immune. Cinemas and theaters will also operate at 60 percent of capacity limits, again, when all patrons are vaccinated or immune.

Organized outdoor events and mass gatherings can take place with venue capacity limits of 75 percent when all attendees are vaccinated or immune.

Then, beginning September 20, organized indoor group activities — including sports, arts, culture, and dance classes — can take place with capacity limits of 100 people when all attendees are vaccinated or immune. Restrictions on outdoor group activities will be removed.

Finally, beginning

Many people choose to go to college to further their education and boost their chances of getting a well-paying job. But not everyone can afford college, and some have no desire to take more classes after high school.

Fortunately, there are careers out there that don’t require a college education. Some of these jobs can provide workers with a comfortable salary. Here are seven high-paying careers that don’t require a traditional college degree.

1. Real estate agent

Median U.S. wage (May 2020): $49,040

Real estate agents help people buy and sell properties. You can become a residential or a commercial real estate agent. For this job, you’ll need to be great with people, have excellent sales skills, and be able to deal with high-stress situations.

Income can vary, as most real estate agents don’t make a base salary. Instead, they make a commission when properties close. The commission percentage varies by state and is based on the property’s sale price. More successful, experienced realtors tend to make more than the median wage.

While a traditional college degree isn’t a requirement, you need to study for and pass license exams to become a licensed real estate agent. Some states also require a certain number of hours to be spent on education and training.

►Job numbers:Economy added 235,000 jobs in August amid COVID surge, worker shortage. Unemployment fell to 5.2%.

►’I quit’:Workers change jobs at a record pace amid burnout, new openings with higher pay

2. Executive assistant

Median U.S. wage (May 2020): $63,110

Working as an executive assistant is a busy, fast-paced career option. The job provides administrative assistance and support to high-level executives. An executive assistant typically serves as a gatekeeper to anyone trying to meet with or talk to an executive. To succeed in this role, you’ll need to have good communication and organizational skills, be a problem solver, and be able to juggle multiple tasks at once.

Some executive assistants have college degrees, but it’s not always required. Previous administrative, project management, and leadership experience may help you land this role.

3. Electrician

Median U.S. wage (May 2020): $56,900

This career is in demand, no matter where you live. An electrician installs, maintains, and repairs electrical systems and products. Electricians can do work in residential buildings, commercial buildings, and factories. In this role, someone can work for a company or they can start their own business.

A college degree is not required to be an electrician. Some people choose to enroll in a trade program to learn how to become an electrician. It’s possible to complete these programs in less than a year before learning on the job in an electrician apprenticeship role. In most states, electricians need to be licensed. Licensing may be at the state or local level.

4. Sales representative

Median U.S. wage (May 2020): $86,650

Sales representatives sell products or services. Inside sales representatives sell from an office or home, while outside sales representatives travel around to meet with prospective

(UPDATED, Thursday, 1:00 PM )- COVID-19 has reared its ugly head again on the FACS football program.

The Crusaders initial week 3 contest against Harding Academy was cancelled because of COVID concerns on Harding’s side.

FACS then found a make up game as they agreed to host Dresden but now FACS has had to cancel the game with Dresden because of cases on the Crusaders side.

Dresden has now found another week 3 game as they will now travel over to play Fayette Academy.

The FACS-Dresden game was Tennessee’s 34th high school football cancellation with Week 3 kickoffs two days away.

The other 33 games that have been cancelled statewide this week are:

Tipton Rosemark-USJ

Stewarts Creek-Oakland

Antioch-LaVergne

Perry County-Dresden

Rockwood-Cloudland

Manassas-Fairley

Trinity Christian-Fayette Academy

Whitwell-Copper Basin

Howard-The King’s Academy

Marion County-Tyner

Bluff City-Booker T. Washington

Camden-Huntingdon

Hillcrest-Oakhaven

Trezevant-Raleigh Egypt

Bolton-Dyersburg

Harding Academy-FACS

Lookout Valley-South Pittsburg

Union County-Pigeon Forge

Tennessee High-Pulaski County (VA)

Madison (NC)-Unicoi County

Hillwood-Pearl Cohn

Bledsoe County-Meigs County

Lake County-Peabody

Millington-Covington

Warren County-Ridgeway

CAK-Boyd Buchanan

Sequatchie County-Cannon County

Lenoir City-Campbell County

Polk County-Tellico Plains

Goodpasture-Lipscomb Academy

Sweetwater-Loudon

Sequoyah-Hixson

Cherokee-Daniel Boone

Besides Dresden-Fayette Academy, two other games have been scheduled is Daniel Boone will travel over to Loudon to take on the Redskins while The King’s Academy will travel to Georgia to play Heritage (GA) high school.

Last week, 30 total games were canceled.