UK jobless rate dips to 44-year low

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

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LONDON, United Kingdom (AFP) — Britain's unemployment rate has fallen to the lowest level in 44 years, official data showed yesterday, as the labour market shrugged off Brexit uncertainty.

The jobless rate — the proportion of the workforce that is unemployed — stood at 4.0 per cent in the three months to November, the lowest level since 1975, the Office for National Statistics said.

That marked a decline from 4.1 per cent in the three months to October, the ONS added in a statement, while expectations had been for no change.

Wages meanwhile grew at the fastest pace for a decade, in upbeat data published two months before Britain exits the European Union.

Average earnings including bonuses grew by 3.4 per cent in the three months to November from a year earlier, outstripping British inflation.

“The labour market is currently robust, holding up extremely well in the face of recent slower UK economic activity and heightened Brexit uncertainties,” said EY economist Howard Archer.

Britain is due to leave the EU on March 29, but markets remain fearful of the potential economic impact of a disorderly “no-deal” Brexit.

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