U.K. labor market tightened in December despite omicron problems

By Xavier Fontdegloria

The number of people employed in the U.K. rose in December and unemployment continued to fall, signaling that the end of the furlough program and the spread of the Omicron coronavirus variant didn’t weaken the country’s labor market.

Staff on businesses’ payrolls increased by 184,000 in December compared with the previous month, to 29.5 million, according to data from the Office for National Statistics released Tuesday.

The increase in employment came together with a decrease in unemployment, the ONS said. The unemployment rate declined to 4.1% in the three months through November, below the 4.2% consensus forecast from economists polled by The Wall Street Journal. The claimant count decreased by a further 43,300 in December compared with the previous month, it said.

Average weekly earnings in the three months from September to November were 4.2% higher than in the same period a year earlier. Excluding bonuses, earnings increased 3.8%, less than the 4.3% registered from August to October.

Write to Xavier Fontdegloria at xavier.fontdegloria@wsj.com

This article was originally published by Marketwatch.com. Read the original article here.

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