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U.K. Unemployment Rate Rises to Highest in Almost Five Years

  • Employees on payrolls are down 726,000 since start of crisis
  • More than half of those who lost jobs are younger than 25
Updated on

U.K. unemployment climbed to its highest rate in almost five years in the fourth quarter as the economic toll from the coronavirus pandemic continued to mount.

The number of people looking for work rose 121,000 from the third quarter, taking the jobless rate to 5.1%, the most since early 2016, the Office for National Statistics said Tuesday. The number of people in work fell by 114,000.

The figures increase pressure on Prime Minister Boris Johnson to deliver on his pledge to do “whatever it takes” to support workers and business through the pandemic. Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak said he will use his budget on March 3 to extend government support programs due to expire in the coming weeks.