The number of UK workers on payrolls rose by 275,000 between January and February to a record 29.7 million, the Office for National Statistics said this morning.
Grant Fitzner, chief economist at the Office for National Statistics, said: “The labour market continues to recover from the effects of the pandemic, with the number of unemployed people falling below its pre-pandemic level for the first time and another strong rise in employees on payroll in February.
“However, the number of people out of work and not looking for a job rose again, meaning total employment remained well below its pre-pandemic level.
“We have seen yet another record number of job vacancies, and with the redundancy rate falling to a new record low, demand for workers remains strong.”Grant Fitzner
“Because bonuses have continued at high levels for some workers, total earnings growth just kept ahead of rising prices over the past year, though regular pay has dropped again in real terms.”
Chancellor Rishi Sunak said: “Thanks to the unprecedented economic support we’ve provided, we’ve now seen a year of falling unemployment and a stronger jobs market bounce back than so many predicted.
“I am confident that our labour market is in a good position to deal with the current global challenges, with payrolled employee numbers above pre-pandemic levels in every nation and region and redundancies at record lows.
“We know people are concerned about the rising cost of living so alongside continuing to help people find great jobs – we’re providing direct support worth more than £20 billion this financial year and next.”