UK unemployment rate drops in April

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The UK unemployment rate fell in April as the economy began to reopen, according to figures released on Tuesday by the Office for National Statistics.
The unemployment rate declined to 4.7% in the three months to April, from 4.8% in March and in line with consensus expectations.

The figures showed the number of payrolled employees rose for the sixth consecutive month, up by 197,000 in May to 28.5m. However, it was still 553,000 below pre-pandemic levels.

Since February 2020, the largest declines in payrolled employment have been in the accommodation and food services sector, people aged under 25 years, and those living in London.

ONS head of economic statistics Sam Beckett said: “The number of employees on payroll grew strongly in May, up by almost 200,000, although it is still over half a million down since the pandemic struck.

“Job vacancies continued to recover in the spring, and our early estimates suggest that by May the total had surpassed its pre-pandemic level, with strong growth in sectors such as hospitality. Meanwhile the redundancy rate remains subdued, while the number of employees on furlough has continued to decline.”

On Monday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced a four-week delay to the lifting of lockdown in England, which had been due to take place on 21 June. According to reports, Chancellor Rishi Sunak will not be extending furlough support despite the reopening delay.

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