Number of workers on UK payrolls rose for third month in a row

Wednesday, March 24, 2021

Employees on Britain's payroll payrolls rose for a third straight month in February, but fell by almost 700.000 since the start of the pandemic, figures show.

Director of ONS economic statistics Sam Beckett said: 'After yet another monthly increase, there were almost 200.000 more employees on payroll in February than three months earlier, although that is still nearly 700.000 down from the start of the pandemic.

Between January and February, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) estimated that there was an increase in the number of workers who were paid by 68.000 (0.2%).

That's 26.8 per cent down on a year earlier yet the fall has since eased after a fall of nearly 60 per cent last summer, although the ONS said the speed of improvement has slowed down in recent months.

Jack Kennedy, UK economist at global consultancy IHS Global Insight, said: 'With the unemployment rate easing back and the number of payrolled employees rising for three months in a row, there are some green shoots in this data.

The ONS also said that, although average pay growth without bonuses rose to 4.2 per cent in the three months to January, from 4.1 per cent in the previous quarter, it stressed that the underlying growth expected with a large percentage of jobs ending in low-paid jobs was likely to be 2.5 per cent.

Tej Parikh, managing director of the Institute of Directors, said: "The labour market is showing some signs of resilience in the face of covid-19.

This represents 340.000 fewer unemployed than previously thought, due in particular to the agreement to extend the unemployment period until September.