UK jobless rate rises to 3.7 pct, but pay growth speeds up again

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Britain’s unemployment rate rose to 3.7 percent in the three months to October but basic wages increased by the most on record excluding the coronavirus pandemic period, the Office for National Statistics said on Tuesday.

The Bank of England is watching pay growth closely as it tries to assess the risks of long-term inflation problems in Britain coming from the country’s tight labor market.

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Regular pay rose by a stronger-than-expected 6.1 percent in the August-to-October period, the biggest increase since records began in 2001 excluding jumps during the COVID-19 period which were distorted by lockdowns and government support measures.

The ONS said the economic inactivity rate - or the share of people not in work and not looking for it - fell in the three months to October to 21.5 percent, 0.2 percentage points lower than the previous three-month period.

But the rate was 1.3 percentage points higher than before the pandemic, it said.

Economists polled by Reuters had expected the jobless rate to increase to 3.7 percent from its previous reading of 3.6 percent.

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