UK unemployment rate holds at 43-year low

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

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LONDON, United Kingdom (AFP) — Britain's unemployment rate remained at 4.0 per cent in the three months to August, the lowest point since 1975, official data showed Tuesday.

The jobless rate — the proportion of the workforce that is unemployed — stood at the same level in the three months to July, the Office for National Statistics said in a statement.

The ONS also reported a pickup in wages growth in upbeat economic data published six months before Britain is due to leave the European Union.

Average earnings excluding bonuses grew 3.1 per cent in the three months to August compared with a year earlier.

That was the best level since January 2009 when the UK economy was emerging from the wreckage of the global financial crisis.

Including bonuses, wages increased by 2.7 per cent in the year to August.

Philip Smeaton, chief investment officer at Sanlam, argued that employers were having to increase salaries to compete and recruit staff.

“Wages keep on going from strength to strength as competition for workers is finally feeding through to pay,” said Smeaton.

“The Bank of England will be keeping a watchful eye on any upwards pressure this puts on inflation.

“However, until the outcome of Brexit becomes clearer, [interest] rates are likely to be placed on hold.”

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