Latest data released by ONS - 23 March 2021

  • Prior -20.0k; revised to -20.8k
  • Claimant count rate 7.5%
  • Prior 7.2%
  • January ILO unemployment rate 5.0% vs 5.2% expected
  • Prior 5.1%
  • January employment change -147k vs -167k expected
  • Prior -114k
  • January average weekly earnings +4.8% vs +4.9% 3m/y expected
  • Prior +4.7%
  • January average weekly earnings (ex bonus) +4.2% vs +4.4% 3m/y expected
  • Prior +4.1%

Slight delay in the release by the source. The headline reading continues to be rather volatile as the furlough scheme distorts much of how to really read into the figures.

The unemployment rate ticks a little lower while employment conditions reflected yet another drop to start the new year - ninth consecutive fall in the three months to January.

There's a lot of caveats to the report here but the biggest is still that the furlough scheme is masking the underlying conditions in the labour market, making it tough to draw much conclusions from the mixed signals in the figures.

On wages, ONS notes that the average annual growth has continued to strengthen but keep in mind that the data is also somewhat distorted by a fall in lower-paid jobs as compared to pre-pandemic labour market conditions.