According to new research conducted by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), pubs are employing more people than 10 years ago, despite almost a quarter of them having closed over the same period.

During the economic downturn, the number of pub jobs declined, however there has been a 6% increase since 2008, and figures are expected to continue to rise.

The increase in employment has been assumed by more pubs serving food, which is more labour intensive and involves multiple staff to be working at one time. The rise in employment has been more pronounced in rural pubs, where in 2018 total employment in England and Wales is 17% higher compared with 2008. In contrast, employment in urban pubs rose by only 4% over the same period.

The rise in employment has been more pronounced in rural pubs, where in 2018 total employment in England and Wales is 17% higher compared with 2008. In contrast, employment in urban pubs rose by only 4% over the same period.

Despite the rise in employment, around 70% of workers in pubs and bars being paid less than the Living Wage Foundation’s recommended Living Wage.

An average of 18 pub close down each week, and areas on the edge of big cities have seen their pub numbers halve since 2001, and more than 11,000 pubs have closed, leaving around 39,000 across the UK.

Popular tourist locations, such as Highlands of Scotland, Blackpool and Brighton, are holding steady or have seen pub numbers increase. This is in contrast to towns outside of major cities, such as Manchester and Birmingham, were the numbers are significantly decrease. Barking and Dagenham, Newham and Luton – all in and around London – now have fewer than half the pubs they did in 2001.

Earlier this year The Campaign for Real Ale (Camra) reported that there were 476 closures in the first six months of the year, 13 more than in the last six months of 2017.

Camra’s chairman Jackie Parker said the high cost of drinking out meant more people were choosing to drink at home,

“Pubs are struggling under a triple whammy of high Beer Duty, rapidly rising Business Rates and VAT. As a result, a third of the cost of a pint is now made up of various taxes. People were naturally looking for the more cost-effective ways to enjoy a drink, such as buying from off-licences and supermarkets for home consumption.”

According to Camra, pubs contribute £23.1bn to the British economy each year.