UK Unemployment Rises at End of 2020 Amid Coronavirus

Unemployment in the U.K. rose at the end of 2020 as the country reeled from a deadly second wave of the coronavirus.

Companies added jobs in January, however, and the number of people claiming out of work benefits fell. The data overall suggest the labor market is still weak, but not as sickly as it was at the height of the pandemic in spring last year.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Monday set out plans for a gradual reopening of the economy over the spring and summer months as Covid-19 caseloads fall and vaccinations increase. Employers' groups are urging the government to extend Covid-19-related support programs for firms and jobs that are scheduled to expire in April.

The Office for National Statistics said Tuesday the unemployment rate rose to 5.1% in the final quarter of the year, up from 5% the three months through November. The number of people in work fell and the number of people existing the labor market rose.

In January, data shows the number of jobs on company payrolls increased, to 28.3 million. That is the second month on month increase, but the number of payrolled employees was 726,000 fewer than it was in February 2020, before the pandemic struck.

Write to Jason Douglas at jason.douglas@wsj.com


  (END) Dow Jones Newswires
  02-23-21 0302ET
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