LONDON: British job vacancies dropped to the lowest level since the COVID-19 pandemic last week, a sign of a further weakening in the labour market that has been cooling since July, according to data from the Recruitment & Employment Confederation (REC).

There were 143,000 new job postings in the week of Sept. 19-25, the least in 2022 so far, bringing the total number of active job alerts to 1.45 million, REC said on Friday.

"Employer demand is still significant, but a cooling-off is no surprise," Neil Carberry, the chief executive of REC, said.

"With inflation high, and employers concerned about the economic picture, some moderation in hiring from the sugar rush of the past year was predictable."

The Bank of England has tried to rein in inflation by raising interest rates since December last year. It expects unemployment to rise from next year.

At the same time, new Prime Minister Liz Truss is seeking to boost economic growth with a tax-slashing mini-budget that was unveiled by her finance minister last week, triggering turmoil in financial markets.

Carberry said the government needed to ensure stability in Britain's fiscal and monetary outlook for businesses to pick up the pace of hiring. (Reporting by Humza Jilani Editing by William Schomberg)