The level of vacancies is down on the record of 864,000 seen at the start of the year, in another sign of strong demand.
A note of caution when quoting these: the ONS recently overhauled the way the numbers are counted – because as they are based on a sample of firms, they stress this is an estimate and perhaps “not precise”.
TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said: “This modest pay growth is doing little for workers still feeling the effects of the longest pay squeeze for 200 years.
“And with over half of those in poverty living in working households, we need a more ambitious plan to support jobs and wages.”
Federation of Small Businesses national chairman Mike Cherry said: “At a time when political uncertainty is making it impossible to plan and operating costs are spiralling, a tight labour market represents yet another headache for small business owners.
“One in five small UK employers rely on staff from the EU. The sharp drop in European arrivals is a real concern for many smaller firms, particularly those in sectors such as construction, care and engineering, where the contribution of EU team members is so vital. One in three small firms now say lack of access to the right personnel is a major barrier to growth.”
Thomas Pugh, UK economist at Capital Economics, said: “We suspect that this could mark the peak of employment growth, as the Brexit uncertainty reached its crescendo and the surveys turned down sharply in March.”
He added that employment growing more slowly than output could ease some pressure on labour costs and said that he did not expect any interest rate rise until the second half of 2020.