The UK’s unemployment fee has risen to its highest for nearly a yr as vacancies continued to shrink, in response to official figures.

The Workplace for Nationwide Statistics (ONS) mentioned the jobless fee elevated to 4.3% between January and March – the very best since Might to July final yr.

The variety of vacancies additionally slowed that means extra unemployed persons are competing for a similar jobs.

The ONS steered that the figures present the nation’s job market is cooling.

Jobs on supply within the UK dropped by 26,000 to 898,000 vacancies between February and April. The overall stays larger than pre-pandemic ranges however Liz McKeown, director of financial statistics on the ONS, mentioned: “With unemployment additionally rising, the variety of unemployed folks per emptiness has continued to rise, approaching ranges seen earlier than the onset of Covid-19.”

She added that general: “We proceed to see tentative indicators that the roles market is cooling.”

Information additionally reveals that wage progress remained at 6%, the ONS mentioned. It had been anticipated to gradual to five.9% within the first three months of this yr nevertheless it continues to outstrip inflation, which grew by 3.2% within the yr to March.

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt mentioned wages rising would “assist with the price of residing pressures on households”.

He added: “Whereas we’re coping with some challenges in our labour provide, together with pandemic impacts, as our reforms on childcare, pensions tax reform and welfare come on-line I’m assured we are going to begin to enhance the variety of folks in work.”

However Labour’s performing shadow work and pensions secretary, Alison McGovern, mentioned “these damning new figures show that issues are simply getting worse”.

She mentioned: “It is no surprise there are actually a report variety of folks locked out of labor as a consequence of long-term illness, given NHS ready lists are spiralling and the Tories have pushed our NHS to its knees.”

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