The sudden drop of 0.1 per cent from a five-year excessive of 5.1 per cent within the October-December interval got here because the ONS revealed the variety of employees on UK payrolls elevated for the third month in a row in February.
Nonetheless the unemployment fee continues to be 1.1 per cent greater than a 12 months earlier and the variety of employees on UK payrolls has fallen by practically 700,000 because the begin of the pandemic.
Of that lower, near two-thirds has been amongst these aged under-25 and nearly a 3rd has been in London.
General there have been 693,000 fewer employees on payrolls than in February 2020, with greater than half – 368,000 jobs – misplaced within the hospitality sector as lockdowns compelled many companies to shut.
The ONS stated that 123,000 payroll jobs have been additionally misplaced within the hard-hit retail sector.
Nonetheless there have been 68,000 extra individuals have been in payrolled employment final month in contrast with January – the third consecutive month-to-month enhance.
Over the November to January interval, an estimated 1.7 million individuals have been unemployed, up 360,000 on the identical three months a 12 months earlier.
The ONS stated the variety of individuals quickly away from work due to the pandemic and receiving no pay had fallen since its peak in April and Could final 12 months, though it has elevated barely over the past three months.
Sam Beckett, ONS head of financial statistics, stated: “After yet one more month-to-month enhance, there have been nearly 200,000 extra staff on payroll in February than three months earlier, though that’s nonetheless practically 700,000 down from the beginning of the pandemic.”
Rishi Sunak, the chancellor, stated: “Coronavirus has triggered one of many largest labour market shocks this nation has ever confronted, which is why defending, supporting and creating jobs has been my focus all through this disaster.
“We’ve taken decisive motion with a £352bn package deal of assist. The continued success of the vaccine rollout offers us with hope for the long run.”
Mims Davies, employment minister, stated: “As we speak’s figures spotlight the challenges going through us on our highway to restoration, however there may be cause for optimism with extra employees on payrolls and over half one million vacancies on the market.”