London [UK], February 23 (ANI): The UK unemployment rate rose to 5.1 per cent in the three months to December last year, while the number of workers on payroll has fallen by 726,000 since the COVID-19 pandemic began in February 2020, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) reported on Tuesday.
"The UK unemployment rate, in the three months to December 2020, was estimated at 5.1 per cent, 1.3 percentage points higher than a year earlier and 0.4 percentage points higher than the previous quarter," the ONS report said, as quoted by Sputnik.
The report highlighted that, however, that there were 83,000 more people in payrolled employment in January compared to the previous month.
According to Jonathan Athow, deputy national statistician at the ONS, this data suggests that the labour market was starting to levelling up after the crisis.
"The latest monthly tax figures show tentative early signs of the labour market stabilising, with a small increase in the numbers of employees paid through payroll over the last couple of months - though there are still over 700,000 fewer people employed than before the start of the coronavirus pandemic," he said as quoted by Sputnik.
The ONS report said workers in the 18 to 24 years age group were the most affected by the rise in the unemployment rate derived from the COVID-19 pandemic.
This comes as the UK economy has suffered its biggest slump in more than three centuries last year, with GDP falling by nearly 10 per cent over the course of 2020.
According to CNN, this means that the Covid-19 pandemic has effectively wiped out all growth in the United Kingdom over the last seven years, returning the economy close to the size it was in 2013.
The 9.9 per cent slump in the UK GDP was "less severe than expected" but it surpassed the 9.7 per cent slump experienced during the Great Depression in 1921, "making it the worst annual drop since 1709", according to a Bank of England database. That was when Europe's harshest winter in 500 years caused widespread death and destruction.
The UK suffered one of "the worst recessions" among major economies last year.
Germany, for example, held up better in the pandemic than it did during the global financial crisis. Provisional estimates suggest Europe's biggest economy contracted by 5 per cent last year. EU GDP, meanwhile, is expected to have shrunk 6.4 per cent, according to Eurostat.
United Kingdom Prime Minister Boris Johnson, on Monday, has warned there will be more deaths from COVID-19 as the country "cautiously, but irreversibly" exits lockdown.
"We cannot escape the fact that lifting lockdown will result in more cases, more hospitalisations and sadly more deaths," he told lawmakers in the UK Parliament as he announced his roadmap toward lifting restrictions (ANI)