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

UK Jobless Rate Steady At 42-Year Low

11/15/2017 - 07:29:00 (RTTNews)

(RTTNews) - The UK unemployment rate held steady at the lowest since 1975 but employment decreased in the third quarter.

The ILO jobless rate came in at 4.3 percent in the third quarter, the same as in three months to August, the Office for National Statistics said Wednesday.

This was the lowest since March to May 1975. But the rate dropped from 4.4 percent in the second quarter and 4.8 percent a year earlier.

The number of unemployed decreased by 182,000 from previous year to 1.42 million in the third quarter.

At the same time, the employment rate rose to 75 percent in July to September from 74.4 percent a year ago, but slightly down from 75.1 percent in the second quarter.

The number of people in work decreased by 14,000 sequentially to 32.06 million. This was the first drop since October 2016 and the biggest fall since June 2015.

Average weekly earnings for employees increased by 2.2 percent both including and excluding bonuses, compared with a year earlier, data showed. The rate was well below the inflation.

With Brexit and political uncertainty elevated and broader economic growth slowing, wage growth may not pick-up quite as sharply, James Smith, an ING economist, said.

For that reason, the economist expects the Bank of England to continue to take a cautious approach to further interest rate hikes, although another increase in 2018 cannot be ruled out.

Productivity per hour grew 0.9 percent in the third quarter, the highest since 2011, the ONS said.

The figures reduce the pressure on the BoE to further increase Bank Rate, Andrew Wishart, an economist at Capital Economics, said.

The quarterly rise in productivity outstripped that in wages in the third quarter, meaning wage costs per unit of output will have fallen. And hiring growth appears to have lost some momentum, he said.

In October, the claimant count rate remained unchanged at 2.3 percent. The number of people claiming unemployment benefits increased by 1,100 from the previous month.

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