Business

Britain's unemployment rate rises to 7.2 per cent

Friday, February 21, 2014    

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BRITAIN'S unemployment rate rose in the quarter to December, official data showed on Wednesday, easing pressure on the Bank of England to raise borrowing costs.

The jobless rate climbed to 7.2 per cent, up from a near five-year low level of 7.1 per cent in the quarter to November, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said in a statement.

The Bank of England (BoE) has faced pressure from financial markets to begin raising its main interest rate from a record low-level of 0.50 per cent as Britain's economic recovery picks up speed.

Sterling slid against the dollar on Wednesday following the latest data, falling away from recent three-year highs triggered by expectations of future rate hikes.

Canadian national Mark Carney took charge of the BoE last August and launched a forward guidance policy, under which he said the central bank would not raise borrowing costs until the unemployment rate falls to at least 7.0 per cent.

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