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UK employment hit, inflation eats into wages

The total number of people in work in Britain shrank in the last three months of 2021, when the Omicron COVID-19 wave swept Europe, and workers in Britain saw their earnings shrink when adjusted for inflation, official data showed.

Employment was down by 38,000 in the October-to-December period, the biggest fall since the three months to February last year when Britain under was under a tough coronavirus lockdown.

The Office for National Statistics said regular earnings fell by 0.8% in real terms using statisticians’ preferred CPIH inflation measure in the three months to December.

That was the first time regular earnings shrank when adjusted for the CPIH measure of inflation since July 2020 although they have recently fallen based on the more widely followed CPI inflation measure.

Britain’s unemployment rate for the three months to the end of December held at 4.1%, as expected by most economists polled by Reuters.

The number of staff on businesses’ payrolls in January rose by 108,000, slowing from December’s increase of 131,000 which was revised down from an original reading of 184,000.
Source: Reuters (Reporting by William Schomberg and David Milliken)

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