UK unemployment rate steady despite Omicron

Shoppers walk past stalls at a market in Walthamstow, east London on February 13, 2022. – UK annual inflation struck 5.4 percent in December, stoking fears of a cost-of-living squeeze as wages fail to keep pace. (Photo by Tolga Akmen / AFP)

LONDON, United Kingdom (AFP) — The UK’s unemployment rate remained steady at the end of last year despite the emergence of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus, official data showed on Tuesday.

The figure stood at 4.1 percent in the three-month period ending in December, the same as the previous quarter, according to the Office for National Statistics.

The rate was lower than the period ending in September when it was at 4.3 percent, but it is still slightly over its pre-pandemic level.

The discovery of Omicron in late November raised concerns about its potential effects on the global economy as countries restored some travel restrictions, but the highly infectious variant has proven less deadly than its predecessors.

© Agence France-Presse