UK jobless figures give mixed messages – but the crunch is coming


Firms are adding to their payrolls, but the real test will come when the Covid furlough scheme ends

On one reading of the latest unemployment figures, the UK labour market is in pretty good shape. The number of people being added to payrolls is going up and so is the number of job vacancies. Annual earnings growth is up sharply to 4.7%.

An alternative reading is that the jobless total is going up along with the redundancy rate, while the number of people employed is going down.

Related: UK unemployment rises to 5.1% as Covid lockdown freezes economy

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