UK unemployment rate ticks up to 5.1%
The UK unemployment rate hit its highest level in five years in December, according to figures released on Tuesday by the Office for National Statistics.
The unemployment rate rose to 5.1% in the three months to the end of December from 5.0% in November, in line with economists’ expectations and marking the highest level since early 2016. Meanwhile, 726,000 jobs have been lost since before the pandemic in February 2020.
Still, the figures also showed that in January, 83,000 more people were in payrolled employment compared to December 2020, making the second consecutive monthly increase.
ONS deputy national statistician for economic statistics Jonathan Athow said: "The latest monthly tax figures show tentative early signs of the labour market stabilising, with a small increase in the numbers of employees paid through payroll over the last couple of months - though there are still over 700,000 fewer people employed than before the start of the coronavirus pandemic.
"Almost three-fifths of this fall in employees since the onset of the pandemic came from the under-25s, according to a new age breakdown we are publishing for the first time today.
"Our survey shows that the unemployment rate has had the biggest annual rise since the financial crisis. However, the proportion of people who are neither working nor looking for work has stabilised after rising sharply at the start of the pandemic, with many people who lost their jobs early on having now started looking for work."