UK unemployment rises to 1.7m

UK unemployment rose by 21,000 to 1.7 million between December and February, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) says.

UK unemployment rose by 21,000 to 1.7 million between December and February, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) says.

That is the first increase since the May-July period of last year.

The unemployment rate remained at 5.1%, which is still down on the same time last year, when it was 5.6%.

Earnings, including bonuses rose by 1.8% in the three months to February, which is a slowdown from the 2.1% rate for the previous three-month period.

“It’s too soon to be certain, but with unemployment up for the first time since mid-2015 – and employment seeing its slowest rise since that period – it’s possible that recent improvements in the labour market may be easing off,” ONS statistician Nick Palmer said.

There were 31.41 million people in work in the three months , a rise of 20,000 on the September to November period.

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Economy, General