UK Unemployment Drops By 28,000

UK unemployment fell to 1.68 million between November and January, down 28,000 from the previous quarter, the Office for National Statistics says.

The rate of unemployment remained at 5.1%, maintaining a decade-low rate.

Some 31.42 million are in work, 478,000 up on a year ago. The employment rate is 74.1%, the joint highest since current records began in 1971.

Average earnings went up by 2.1% in the year to January including bonuses, 0.2% higher than the previous month.

Excluding bonuses, the increase was 2.2%.

"With the Chancellor [George Osborne] setting the backdrop to this afternoon's Budget as one where the global 'storm clouds' are gathering, today's labour market figures offer a ray of sunshine," said Scott Bowman, UK economist at Capital Economics.

He added that the UK's jobs recovery remained "in full swing", but cautioned that wage growth was "still fairly subdued by past standards, especially considering how much the labour market has tightened recently".

In all, 22.94 million people were working full-time, 302,000 more than a year earlier, while 8.48 million were working part-time, an increase of 177,000 on a year earlier.

The number of people on the claimant count in February fell by 18,000 to 716,700, said the ONS.


March 2016