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Financial News: UK Jobless Rate Steady At 42-Year Low, Wage

UK Jobless Rate Steady At 42-Year Low, Wage Squeeze Continues

10/18/2017 - 08:11:00 (RTTNews)

(RTTNews) - The UK unemployment rate held steady at the lowest level since 1975 and the wage squeeze continued, data from the Office for National Statistics showed Wednesday.

The ILO jobless rate came in at 4.3 percent in the three months to August, the lowest since 1975, and in line with expectations. In the same period of 2016, the rate was 5 percent.

The number of unemployed decreased by 52,000 from March to May to 1.44 million.

At the same time, people in work increased to 32.1 million. As a result, the employment rate rose to 75.1 percent from 74.5 percent a year earlier.

Data showed that total earnings, including bonus, increased 2.2 percent in the June to August period from the previous year, slightly better than the expected increase of 2.1 percent. Excluding bonus, earnings grew 2.1 percent.

The wage growth continues to stay well below the inflation, which was at 3 percent in September.

While headline inflation is expected to peak at 3.1 percent next month, the gap between CPI and wage growth is likely to stay fairly wide for some time to come, James Smith, an ING economist, said.

This will keep a lid on consumer spending and there may be further evidence of this in Thursday's retail sales report, as households continue to take a cautious approach to discretionary spending, the economist noted.

Despite continued robust growth in employment there is no sign of second round effects onto wages from higher recent inflation, BoE's newly appointed Deputy Governor Dave Ramsden told lawmakers on Tuesday.

Given the tightening in the labor market, the Monetary Policy Committee will follow through on its suggestion that it could raise interest rates "over the coming months", with the first 25 basis point hike set for November, Capital Economics' Andrew Wishart said.

Data showed that the claimant count rate came in at 2.3 percent in September. The rate has been at 2.3 percent since April. The number of people claiming unemployment benefits increased by 1,700 from August.

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