UK’s Unemployment Rate Falls Below 5% in Three Months to February
Aiswarya Gopan • 1 min read
Unemployment rate across the UK declined to 4.9% during the three months until February, despite the nation being under lockdown. This is the first quarterly drop seen in the unemployment rate since 2019, even before the coronavirus pandemic struck the UK and other parts of the world.
However, compared to pre-pandemic levels, there is still a shortage of around 800k employees on firms’ payrolls, underlining that the labor market troubles are far from over. According to data released by the ONS, the number of unemployed people stood at 1.67 million between December 2020 and February 2021.
The total number of unemployed people came in 50k less than the figures from the previous three months, but remained about 311k higher when compared with the corresponding duration a year prior. Between February and March, the number of workers on payrolls fell by 56k, indicating that the total number of workers on payrolls were lower by 813k since March 2020 – the beginning of the pandemic and lockdowns.
Director of economic statistics at ONS, Darren Morgan, notes, “The latest figures suggest that the jobs market has been broadly stable in recent months after the major shock of last spring. There are, though, over 800,000 fewer employees than before the pandemic struck, and with around five million people employed but still on furlough, the labour market remains subdued. However, with the prospect of businesses reopening, there was a marked rise in job vacancies in March, especially in sectors such as hospitality.”