UK payrolls skyrocket for the third month

LONDON – The number of people on company payments in the UK rose for the third straight month in February, a sign that the labor market is stabilizing due to continued government support due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Economists have warned, however, that it is unclear whether that resilience will continue when that support ends.

The number of people on company payments rose 68,000 in February from a month earlier, the Office for National Statistics said Tuesday. It was the third month in a row that the number of workers has risen, although the total number of people on payroll is still much lower than it was before the pandemic struck. early last year.

Data for the three months through January showed a decline in the unemployment rate, to 5.0%, from 5.1% for the three months through December.

Earlier this month, Finance Department leader Rishi Sunak expanded a government program that will help pay the salaries of workers reduced by the pandemic and government to keep it afloat. -in. Nearly 5 million people are currently knit through the scheme, figures show.

Most economists expect unemployment to rise later this year as that support has been removed.

“The big unknown is how many of the 4.7 million people are currently working backwards,” said Anoushka Kenley, director of research and policy at Pro Bono Economics, an advisory group.

Write to Jason Douglas at [email protected]