UK unemployment rose by 21,000 to 1.7 million between December and February, although the unemployment rate remains at 5.1%, according to the Office for National Statistics.
The statistics show 79.2% of men and 69.1% of women aged from 16 to 64 were in work between December and February and that employment rates for both men and women were higher than for a year earlier, with the employment rate for women being the joint highest since comparable records began in 1971. This is partly due to ongoing changes to the state pension age for women resulting in fewer women retiring between the ages of 60 and 65.
The number of employees increased by 262,000 to 26.56 million while the self-employed increased by 120,000 to 4.64 million.
Neil Carberry, CBI Director for Employment and Skills, said: “With more uncertainty in the economy it’s not surprising that labour market performance shows signs of levelling off, with employment growing at the slowest rate since last summer while unemployment edged up a little.
“Employers are also having to take on increased costs associated with a range of new policies on wages and skills, which may have delayed growth plans.”