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23 Mar 2021 | 07:49

UK unemployment rate unexpectedly ticks lower in January

(Sharecast News) - The UK unemployment rate unexpectedly ticked lower in the three months to January, according to figures released on Tuesday by the Office for National Statistics.

The unemployment rate fell to 5% from 5.1% in December, coming in a little better than expectations of 5.2%. Still, the rate remains 1.1 percentage points higher than a year ago and 0.1 percentage points higher than the previous quarter.

The data showed the number of job vacancies in December 2020 to February 2021 was 26.8% lower than a year ago. This is an improvement on summer 2020, when vacancies were down nearly 60% year-on-year. However, the rate of improvement has slowed in the past few months.

"Further restrictions and national lockdowns recently have had an impact on vacancies in some industries more than others, most notably the accommodation and food services industry," the ONS said.

ONS head of economic statistics Sam Beckett said: "After yet another monthly increase, there were almost 200,000 more employees on payroll in February than three months earlier, although that is still nearly 700,000 down from the start of the pandemic.

"Of the decrease since then, almost two-thirds has been among the under-25s, over half has been in hospitality, and almost a third has been in London."
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