The rate of unemployment in the UK fell slightly to 4.9 per cent from December 2020 to February 2021, some 0.9 percentage points higher than the same time last year.
“The latest figures suggest that the jobs market has been broadly stable in recent months after the major shock of last spring,” the Office for National Statistics said.
That pushed up the total number of jobs lost since the onset of the pandemic to 813,000, the ONS said.
However, the UK is in the process of lifting its third lockdown while other European countries tighten their rules.
The scheme has eased Britain’s jobless rate, which is likely to be far higher when it ends.
Jon Hudson, fund manager at Premier Miton UK, said: “At 4.9 per cent, the unemployment rate has decreased on a quarterly basis for the first time since the pandemic broke, despite the UK being in national lockdown throughout the period.