(Bloomberg) -- Britain’s labor market grew strongly despite a surge in coronavirus infections late last year, driving down unemployment to the lowest level since the early months of the pandemic.

The number of people on company payrolls rose 184,000 in December, stronger than the pace expected, the Office for National Statistics data showed Tuesday. The jobless rate dropped to 4.1% in the quarter through November, the best reading since June 2020. Economists had expected no change. 

Job vacancies hit a record of 1.25 million in the fourth quarter. 

Together, the figures suggest strength in the economy that may encourage the Bank of England to retain its focus on inflation. Policy makers boosted interest rates for the first time in the pandemic last month, and investors anticipate another move at their next meeting on Feb. 3 as inflation threatens to surpass 6% this year, triple their target.



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