Employment surged to record high in January

UK employment surged to another record high in the three months to January, but unemployment also rose as fewer people became economically inactive.

Wage growth also accelerated during the period, increasing to 3.1% growth from 2.9% in December.

The number of people in work increased by 183,000 to 32.99 million in the quarter, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said.

Manufacturing stock
Manufacturing stock

Analysts had forecast that employment would increase by 143,000 in January.

David Freeman, ONS head of labour market statistics, said: “Today’s figures show continuing record employment but also a slight rise in unemployment on the year – for the first time since early summer 2012.

“This is because we also see a record low rate for people neither working nor looking for work.

“Meanwhile, vacancies have continued to rise after recent falls, with more now than at any time in the last six months.”