U.K. Jobs Market Gains More Than Expected as Lockdown Eases

The U.K. labor market strengthened more than expected in April as the economy began to emerge from coronavirus restrictions.

The number of people on payrolls rose 97,000, and vacancies increased 13%, the Office for National Statistics said on Tuesday. The jobless rate in first quarter fell unexpectedly to 4.8% as employment surged 84,000, the first gain since the pandemic struck.

The jobs outlook has improved significantly in recent months, with the government announcing plans to fully reopen the economy by June 21 and then extending wage support for furloughed workers until the end of September. It’s shifted the debate toward when the Bank of England will start tightening monetary policy.

The central bank now expects unemployment to peak at just 5.4% in the third quarter instead of a previously estimated 7.9%, despite the economy last year experiencing its deepest contraction in three centuries.

Lower Peak

Government wage support is expected to limit the rise in unemployment

Source: Bank of England

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