The UK’s unemployment rate ticked up to 3.8% in the three months to February, according to official figures that also highlighted a faster than expected spike in wage rises.
The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said the jobless rate rose from 3.7% due to a surge in the number of people unemployed for more than six months.
The rate rose despite part-time employees and self-employed workers driving an increase in the employment rate.
Total pay, including bonuses, grew at an annual rate of 5.9% in the three months to February.
That was up from the 5.7% measured the previous month and at a time when energy-driven inflation remained at a 40-year high above 10%.
The rate of inflation currently stands at 10.4%.
The pace of wage growth is a closely-watched measure as the cost of living crisis evolves – and not just for pinched consumers.