By Biodun Busari
The United Kingdom’s unemployment rate has risen to 3.8 per cent in three months to February, according to official figures published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS).
Sky News reported that the ONS said the jobless rate rose from 3.7% due to a surge in the number of people unemployed for more than six months.
The rate rose despite part-time employees and self-employed workers driving an increase in the employment rate.
It also said there was a signal in the broader ONS figures of upwards pressure to come on the unemployment rate as the number of people claiming jobless benefits rose by 28,200 in March.
The figures also disclosed that vacancies dropped by another 47,000 to 1.1 million in the three months to March.
The ONS said this reflected “uncertainty across industries, as survey respondents continue to cite economic pressures as a factor in holding back on recruitment”.
In addition, total pay, including bonuses, grew at an annual rate of 5.9% in the three months to February.
That was up from the 5.7% measured the previous month and at a time when energy-driven inflation remained at a 40-year high above 10%.
Meanwhile, the rate of inflation currently stands at 10.4%, as regular pay growth was static at 6.6%.
The pace of wage rises is a closely-watched measure as the cost of living crisis evolves – and not just for pinched consumers.
As strike action over pay continues to hammer several sectors including the NHS, the Bank of England has urged wage restraint.