Unemployment level falls slightly from five-year high

The unexpected drop of 0.1 per cent from a five-year high of 5.1 per cent in the October-December period came as the ONS revealed the number of workers on UK payrolls increased for the third month in a row in February.

However, the unemployment rate is still 1.1 per cent higher than a year earlier and the number of workers on UK payrolls has fallen by nearly 700,000 since the start of the pandemic.

Of that decrease in payroll numbers, close to two-thirds have been among those aged under-25 and almost a third have been in London.

Overall there were 693,000 fewer workers on payrolls than in February 2020, with more than half – 368,000 jobs – lost in the hospitality sector as lockdowns forced many businesses to close.


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