LONDON:The number of unemployed in Britain has seen its sharpest increase for five years, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said Wednesday.
Figures show that the rate of unemployment rose from 4.3 percent to 4.4 percent for the three months to the end of December, 2017, with the number of out-of-work going up 46,000 to 1.47 million.
The number of unemployed men reached 782,000, while 689,000 women were registered as unemployed.
Although the number of unemployed has sharply increased in the last quarter, the number of unemployed remains 123,000 fewer than a year earlier when the rate was 4.8 percent.
The ONS figures also show that the number of working age people with jobs continues to rise, with 32.15 million people in work, 88,000 more than for July to September 2017 and 321,000 more than for a year earlier.
It puts the new employment rate among working age people (16 to 64 years) at 75.2 percent, compared to 74.6 percent a year earlier, said ONS.
Latest estimates show that average weekly earnings for employees in Britain has increased by 2.5 percent compared with a year earlier.
Commenting on today's labor market figures, senior ONS statistician Matt Hughes said: "While this is the sharpest increase in the unemployment level ONS has seen in almost five years, the number of people in work has continued to rise and there are fewer 'economically inactive' people -- those neither working nor looking for a job. Earnings continue to grow more slowly than prices."
According to the statistician, rising employment in the past year was largely driven by British nationals.
"In particular, fewer citizens of the eastern European countries that joined the EU in 2004 and of non-EU countries were in work than in the year before. But it's important to remember these figures simply look at the number of people in work, and aren't a measure of migration," said Hughes.APP