UK unemployment reached 1.7million in January as Britain entered its third national lockdown

Wednesday, March 24, 2021

The unemployment rate has dropped for the first time since the pandemic began, it says, after much of the economy was shut down by the recent shutdown.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said the jobless rate fell to 5% between November and January after 5.1% in the previous three months.

Economists were expecting a 5.2 percent increase.

The ONS added that 123.000 jobs, including in hard-hit retail sectors, were lost on payrolls, while the under-25s accounted for over 60 percent of last year's overall decline-a sign of the toll being taken by the crisis on young workers.

But after a catastrophic year, employment is down 693.000 from February 2020, with additional job losses expected after the end of the era.

Official figures earlier this month showed the economy contracted by 2.9 per cent in January when the third round began, though that was less than feared and a far cry from the double-digit deterioration last April at the zenith of the first wave.

The ONS added that the number of non-UK-born workers on payrolls had fallen by 177.800 in the last quarter of 2020 on an annual basis, or 4 per cent.