For Steve Grieve, it took leaving Southland to fully appreciate just what makes it such a good place to live.

For the past four and half years Grieve has been the manager, and a part-owner, of the Speight’s Ale House at Addington, Christchurch.

During that time he commuted between Invercargill and Christchurch. That, however, is about to end.

Grieve had moved to Christchurch to help his partner and their children get financially ahead in life. Every four to six weeks he travelled to Invercargill to be with them – partner Nadia Steedman and children Maxzara, Madison and Estella.

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Steve Grieve is returning to Invercargill after accepting a job to run the Northern Tavern.

Peter Meecham/Stuff

Steve Grieve is returning to Invercargill after accepting a job to run the Northern Tavern.

He’s been appointed as the manager of the Northern Tavern, starting on May 2, taking over from Edgar Potter who held the role for 25 years.

Grieve will retain his ownership in the Christchurch restaurant but said it was time for him to return home to Invercargill.

“A lot of good stuff happens in Invercargill and you don’t really realise it until you go away from it.”

He likes the outdoor leisure found in Southland, such as trips to beaches and surfing. Being able to drive from Invercargill to Queenstown and Dunedin within two and a half hours also appealed to him.

Bringing Southlanders home and attracting newbies has been viewed as vital for the province’s business sector which was struggling to fill staff vacancies at the moment.

Great Southland business and strategic projects general manager Steve Canny described the current worker shortage as the biggest single strategic issue for Southland businesses, and he added it had been for some time.

Canny said data showed, for the past two to three years, each week 700 to 1000 Southland jobs were being advertised.

Agriculture and trade-related services provided most of the job vacancies, Canny said, followed by transportation logistics and healthcare.

“There is a tremendous range of jobs and opportunities down here. There’s no question about that,” Canny said.

“We do have an ageing population and with an ageing population means, we are going to have many more jobs available.”

Canny acknowledged there were challenges when it came to businesses enticing people to Southland to live. Although the one thing he constantly heard was when people did make the shift and got involved living in the Southland community, they loved it.

He said there were various reasons why Southland was such a great place to live, including housing affordability and the shorter commute to different activities.

“If you can remove a lot of your mortgage debt and come to a place where you don’t have to spend half of your life in a vehicle travelling, it would have to be fairly compelling.”

While housing affordability was an

DEAR ABBY: I am currently without a job. I hesitated to inform my mother because I was sure her reaction would only add to my stress. I was right. She constantly corners me about my efforts to find a job. I talk to her nearly every day to keep up with how she and my stepfather are doing. Because she never fails to dig into me about my job search progress, I now find ways to shorten our conversations.

I can get a job or two to sustain my living expenses for the time being.

However, I’m trying to hold out for a job or career that connects to my soul passion. Working for decades in a job that sustains me and my children is no match for the longing of my passion. (I’m still not sure what it is.)

How do I curb my mother’s pushing me for a resolution without coming off as annoyed, which I am?

I’m sure she wants to express her concern, but I want support in my efforts without feeling condemned. Help me, please. — ANNOYED IN ALABAMA

DEAR ANNOYED: I will try. Because you still aren’t sure what your “soul passion” is, it’s time to find out. A place to start might be a career counseling center (some universities have them). Contact one or more and inquire whether they offer career counseling and aptitude testing. The test results will tell you what you are best suited for.

Of course, this service is not offered for free, which is why you might want to buckle down and take a job or two in the meantime to afford it, as well as to feed your little family.

As to your mother, who may be worried because you don’t yet have a plan of action, explain to her about seeking career counseling and she may calm down.

DEAR ABBY: I’ve been seeing a man, “Carson,” on and off for about five years. Last year, when I asked him if we were exclusive, he quickly said no, so I went and slept with an ex and became pregnant. I didn’t reach out to Carson because I thought the baby belonged to my ex, but when the baby was born I quickly realized she might be Carson’s. When I told him, he immediately denied she was his but still rekindled our relationship. Abby, he disappears frequently and doesn’t answer my calls. What should I do? Leave him? Stay? I do love him. — HOPELESS ROMANTIC IN PENNSYLVANIA

DEAR HOPELESS ROMANTIC: Have your child DNA-tested. If it proves she is Carson’s, he should be contributing to his daughter’s support. (The same goes for anyone else you think could be the father.) It’s important that you understand this man behaves the way he does because he is not in love with you and doesn’t care about your feelings.

He sees other women, just as he did the first time around. If this is the way you want to be treated,

  • Brits are working again, as new data shows the number of employees has returned to pre-pandemic levels
  • But the travel industry is bracing for a wave of redundancies once furlough support ends
  • JD Sports’ US expansion has paid off, as demand for sports fashion booms

UK labour market regains pre-pandemic strength

The UK jobs market is booming, but will the impending end to furlough temper its expansion?

The latest figures from the Office for National Statistics showed another 241,000 employees were added to UK payrolls in August, taking the total number of people in work to 29.1m – a level last recorded in February 2020. Meanwhile the number of job vacancies during the three months to August reached 1.03m, breaching the 1m mark for the first time and around a quarter of a million higher than the number of vacancies between January and March 2020.

For those who have been holidaying in the UK over the summer and noticed the number of job ads in restaurant windows, it will come as little surprise that the sector which saw the biggest rise in vacancies was accommodation and food service. Vacancies here rose by 75 per cent, although the increase may drop as seasonal factors fall away. 

Those in work are still enjoying strong pay growth. Average pay was up 8.3 per cent in May to July, although the market is being distorted by a decline in low-paying jobs and sharp wage inflation in sectors where there are severe shortages of workers, such as haulage.

But the big question remains: what effect will the ending of furlough support later this month have on the jobs market? The ONS reported that more than 1m people were still being supported by the furlough scheme at the end of August. GD

Read more: 

Is there a national labour shortage?

What does the lorry driver shortage mean for supermarket earnings?

Save travel industry by ending harsh rules, says ABTA

When the government does withdraw coronavirus job support, travel companies are likely to be hit harder than most. The UK’s leading travel agency body warned today that the industry faces a wave of redundancies when the furlough scheme ends later this month.

The Association of British Travel Agents argued the government should kill its current traffic light system, maintaining only a red list for the highest risk destinations. It also called for the end of expensive PCR testing for vaccinated travellers returning from “lower-risk countries”. New foreign holiday bookings this summer were down 83 per cent on 2019, ABTA said, while 58 per cent of holidays booked for July and August had to be postponed or cancelled. 

The government is reportedly considering changing testing requirements, and the traffic light system could end within weeks. But the industry is demanding action soon. On Monday, Heathrow Airport said that its August traffic figures were down 71 per cent compared to 2019, adding it had gone from being Europe’s busiest airport to only the 10th busiest. AH 

Further reading: 


LONDON (AP) — The number of people on payroll in the U.K. has soared back to levels last seen before the coronavirus pandemic struck a year and a half ago, official figures showed Tuesday in the latest clear signal that the lifting of lockdown restrictions has prompted businesses to ramp up hiring.

The Office for National Statistics said that payroll numbers rose by 241,000 between July and August to 29.1 million. The total is now 1,000 higher than it was the month before the pandemic struck in March 2020.

The statistics agency also said that vacancy numbers increased by 249,000 in the three months to August to more than 1 million for the first time since records began in 2001 amid labor shortages in industries such as accommodation and food services that are partly related to the pandemic but also because of Britain’s departure from the European Union.

It also found that the the overall rate of unemployment dropped by 0.3 percentage point in July to 4.6% while the employment rate ticked up by 0.5 percentage point to 75.2%.

Overall, the figures point to the positive impact of the lifting of restrictions over the past few months and the rebound in confidence following the rapid rollout of coronavirus vaccines across the U.K.

National statistician Jonathan Athow cautioned that the jobs recovery isn’t even and that “in hard-hit areas such as London, and sectors such as hospitality and arts and leisure, the numbers of workers remain well down on pre-pandemic levels.”

There’s also unease as to what will happen in the labor market over the coming months as the government’s salary support program, which has kept a lid on unemployment during the pandemic, comes to an end.

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, which is set to end at the end of September, saw the government pay 80% of the salaries of those workers unable to work because of lockdown measures. The program helped support around 12 million people at its height. But the number has been falling as lockdown restrictions were lifted and now stands at around 1.6 million.

“With the furlough scheme ending in little over two weeks’ time, we should expect a fresh rise in unemployment this autumn, particularly among furloughed staff that aren’t able to return to their previous jobs,” said Nye Cominetti, senior economist at the Resolution Foundation think tank.

Unions are urging the government to come up with new support, particularly for sectors like aviation which are still struggling in the face of restrictions.


Follow AP’s pandemic coverage at:

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

Job vacancies in Britain climbed to a record in August, rising above 1 million for the first time, as the labor market continued its uneven recovery, according to data released Tuesday by the Office for National Statistics.

As Britain emerged from lockdowns the demand for workers has soared. Every sector is seeking more workers, with restaurants, bars, hotels and other accommodation and food businesses trying to hire the most over the summer.

It has helped push the unemployment rate down, to 4.6 percent, and has shrunk the number of people who are out of the work force.

Nearly a quarter of a million people were added to company payrolls in August, returning this part of the labor market (which doesn’t include the self-employed) to its prepandemic size, the statistics office said. But not every region had fully recovered. The number of employees was still down in London, in southeast England and in Scotland. And some of the workers on payroll were still receiving wage subsidies from the government’s furlough program.

The soaring vacancy rate has highlighted mismatches in the labor market. Even as people return to work, lots of businesses report they are struggling to hire. The staff they are looking for have either moved into different industries or left the country. And job seekers don’t have the right training or experience. Growth in the manufacturing sector has been hampered by the challenge of filling open positions. And businesses across Britain are running low on supplies because there are too few truck drivers.

Analysts predict that some of the gains in the labor market will be reversed when the furlough program ends this month, and employers can no longer rely on the government to top up staff wages up to 80 percent for the hours they don’t work. At the end of July, there were 484,000 employers with 1.6 million workers still on furlough. Layoffs are expected; a group representing the travel sector said more than two-thirds of businesses with staff on furlough expect to cut jobs when the program ends.

“With the furlough scheme ending in little over two weeks’ time, we should expect a fresh rise in unemployment this autumn, particularly among furloughed staff that aren’t able to return to their previous jobs,” Nye Cominetti, an economist at the Resolution Foundation, a think tank studying living standards, wrote in a note.

Samuel Tombs, an economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics, said the end of the furlough program would increase unemployment and underemployment, as people can’t find as much work as they would like, despite the high number of vacancies.

“About 60 percent of staff on furlough are attached to small businesses employing fewer than 20 people, who are unlikely to have the financial strength to re-employ them for all their pre-Covid hours,” he wrote in a note to clients. Businesses with high vacancies are different from the ones using the furlough program, so people will need to retrain before they return to employment, he added, predicting that the unemployment

People enjoy themselves at Magaluf beach in Mallorca as British tourists are expected to resume travels to the area starting from June 30th, Spain, June 29, 2021. REUTERS/Enrique Calvo/File Photo

LONDON, Sept 14 (Reuters) – Britain’s travel sector is bracing for a new wave of job cuts, with an industry trade body saying that more than two thirds of its members were planning to make redundancies shortly due to the government’s restrictive holiday rules.

Airlines and travel companies have slammed Britain’s travel rules as overly expensive and complicated, and blame them for a second lost summer of holiday trade in 2021.

Travel industry body ABTA, which represents 4,300 travel brands, said that new bookings were 83% lower in summer 2021 compared to their pre-pandemic levels, and as a result most of its members were planning more job cuts at the end of this month when a furlough scheme ends.

“The government’s travel requirements have choked off this summer’s travel trade – putting jobs, businesses and the UK’s connectivity at risk,” ABTA Chief Executive Mark Tanzer said in a statement.

Estimated new redundancies will bring the total number of jobs lost during COVID-19 to nearly 100,000 in the outbound travel sector, said ABTA, a figure which rises to 226,000 once the impact on the supply chain is included.

ABTA echoed calls from airlines and airports for the government to scrap the requirement for fully vaccinated travellers returning to the UK to take expensive PCR tests. read more

It also said that the government should provide tailored financial support to the travel industry which continues to suffer financial hardship while the domestic economy has been able to recover.

Reporting by Sarah Young; Editing by Kate Holton

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

Two-thirds of travel sector employers with staff still on the furlough scheme are planning redundancies once the wage support is removed at the end of the month, the travel association ABTA has warned.

The body said a survey of its membership showed that 69% of employers planned to let staff go after 30 September.

It blamed “overly-cautious” coronavirus restrictions on travel in the UK, saying they had hammered demand during the peak summer season and inflicted huge damage on the industry’s chances of recovery as a result.

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Travel boss welcomes prospect of UK restrictions easing

ABTA said that it expected almost 100,000 people in the sector, including airlines, to have either lost their jobs or walked away during the COVID pandemic once the Job Retention Scheme was closed.

The figure rose to 226,000 when the employment impact on the supply chain was factored in, its report said.

It warned that 43% of travel agent and tour operator workers, tens of thousands of people, were currently still on furlough though the report could not put a number on the roles set to be lost.

ABTA spoke out as ministers prepare to review the restrictions covering international travel by 1 October – with discussions set to intensify this week as the PM outlines later on Tuesday his plan to deal with coronavirus over the coming months.

ABTA is demanding the traffic light system for destinations is scrapped, along with the widespread use of PCR testing.

It accused the government of wasting the success of the vaccine rollout to date and said it should be up to individuals to determine their own risk status.

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Javid wants to scrap PCR tests for travellers

The body complained that shifting restrictions and confusion meant that 58% of bookings, with departure dates in July or August this year, had to be postponed or cancelled.

It concluded that too much damage had been done to demand for the government to end financial support now, with a letter to Boris Johnson and chancellor Rishi Sunak urging “a package of tailored financial support – extending the furlough scheme for travel businesses and a dedicated grant fund”.

ABTA chief executive, Mark Tanzer, said: “The government’s travel requirements have choked off this summer’s travel trade – putting jobs, businesses and the UK’s connectivity at risk.

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Heathrow boss urges change to travel rules

“While our European neighbours have been travelling freely and safely, the British were subject to expensive measures which have stood in the way of people visiting family and friends, taking that much-needed foreign holiday and making important business connections.

“The government needs to wake up to the damage its policies are doing to the UK travel industry and the impact they will have on the wider economic recovery.

“It is the fares from leisure passengers that keep our planes flying

The most recent jobs report was disappointing. Only 235,000 jobs were created in August 2021, versus an expectation of 720,000. Leisure and hospitality jobs had led the way this year — until August. For the six months before August 2021, those industries had averaged 350,000 new jobs per month. Last month there were no job gains in the sectors. The drop-off in leisure and hospitality resulted in August’s jobs gains being the weakest monthly gain since January 2021.

The weakness was attributed to rising COVID-19 cases. Consumer demand ticked down as the uncertainty regarding new infections went up. U.S. infection cases are up to about 150,000 cases a day. The jobs report saw an increase of about 400,000 people who said they couldn’t work for pandemic-related reasons, bringing the total to 5.6 million. The reluctance of would-be workers confirmed the apprehension of businesses to bring on new employees. Corporations paused hiring as hot, hot, hot economic growth cooled to merely hot.

The Delta variant wave is a caterwauling reminder that the pandemic remains one of the most critical factors driving the economy, if not the single most crucial factor. One other significant factor is that, beginning as early as June 2021, roughly half of U.S. states opted out of taking the federal $300 weekly plus-up for unemployment benefits. Governors of those states argued that businesses were competing against the federal benefits for workers. Those additional federal plus-up benefits were eliminated for every state on Labor Day, September 6, 2021.

The governors hypothesized that by eliminating the additional benefit, people would go back to work. It’s too early to determine if that hypothesis is true or not. However, it is possible that the unintended consequence of denying those people that extra $300 per week resulted in the drop in aggregate demand. It’ll be interesting to look at all the data once enough time has passed in order to measure the fallout correctly. Not that there needs to be computational time; there needs to be enough time to compare periods. However, thus far, economists at JP Morgan and Columbia University have found “zero correlation” between job growth and states’ decisions to opt-out of federal unemployment aid.

We don’t yet honestly know the effect of eliminating those additional $300 weekly payments. If dropping the extra unemployment benefits does fail to pull people back into the workforce, it could create a negative feedback loop. Demand for goods and services will drop, and businesses won’t need to hire as many people. This risk is heightened because, as of September 6, 2021, benefits for self-employed and gig workers (freelancers) were terminated. Also on Labor Day, special consideration was canceled for those unemployed for more than six months. Roughly 8.9 million Americans will lose all or some of these benefits. For comparison, during the Financial Crisis of 2008, jobless benefits of different forms that began in 2008–2009 were extended until 2013. When those benefits ceased, there were 1.3 million people still receiving amped-up aid.

There was some

People have their Green Pass (health pass) checked before entering the Vatican Museums as Italy brings in tougher restrictions where where a proof of immunity will be required to access an array of services and leisure activities in Rome, Italy, August 6, 2021. REUTERS/Guglielmo Mangiapane

ROME, Sept 9 (Reuters) – The Italian government ruled on Thursday that catering and cleaning staff in schools and nursing homes can only work if they have proof of COVID-19 immunity, extending mandatory vaccination and the use of the so-called “Green Pass” document.

The health pass was already required for teachers in Italy, while mandatory vaccination for health workers was introduced in March.

The government said on Thursday that under the new rules people working in schools in any capacity must have the health document, and that all nursing home staff will have to be vaccinated.

The Green Pass — a digital or paper certificate showing someone has received at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose, tested negative or has recently recovered from the virus — was originally conceived to facilitate travel among EU states.

However, Italy was among a group of countries that also made it an internal requirement for people to access a range of cultural and leisure venues such as museums, gyms and indoor dining in restaurants.

From Sept. 1 it became necessary for travel on inter-city transport Prime Minister Mario Draghi said it would be extended further, despite opposition from groups who say it tramples on freedoms and is a back-door way of making vaccination mandatory.

“We will expand the Green Pass requirement in coming weeks,” Health Minister Roberto Speranza said on Thursday after the cabinet decreed the latest, limited extensions.

The issue has caused tensions in Draghi’s national unity coalition.

Several government officials have said the pass should become a requirement for all public sector workers and even private firms, but the right-wing League opposes this.

This week the League voted with a hard-right opposition party in parliament against the Green Pass requirement in restaurants.

Italy has the second-highest COVID-19 death toll in Europe after Britain and the eighth-highest in the world.

Around 72% of Italy’s 60-million-strong population have had at least one COVID shot.

Reporting by Angelo Amante, editing by Gavin Jones and Cynthia Osterman

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.