British unemployment rate holds at 11-year low: data

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Britain’s jobless rate remains at an 11-year low of 4.8 percent despite looming Brexit, and wages are growing in real terms, official data showed Wednesday.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said the October-December unemployment rate -- the lowest since summer 2005 -- was unchanged from the three months to the end of November, in line with expectations.

The jobless total stood at just under 1.6 million people over the same period, down 7,000 on the previous three months, the ONS added. That was the lowest level since early 2006.

Employment meanwhile increased by 37,000 to 31.84 million people, and the rate rose to a record 74.6 percent.

“Economists and financial institutions have repeatedly forecast the UK’s unemployment rate will rise as a result of the vote to leave the EU,” said Hargreaves Lansdown economist Ben Brettell.


“Yet the UK labour market continues to confound the doom-mongers with its resilience to the Brexit shock.”

The ONS also revealed Wednesday that average earnings rose 2.6 percent in the year to December, down 0.2 percentage points on the previous month.

Separate data showed Tuesday that British 12-month inflation stood at 1.8 percent in January, up from 1.6 percent in December.

“This means real wage growth continues for now, but with inflation forecast to hit 2.8 percent early next year, a deceleration in pay growth could see real wages fall at some stage,” added Brettell.

“This would squeeze household budgets as we move through the year.”