Unemployment Falls to 5 Year Low

The jobless rate has fallen to just 6.8% - a five year low, and well under the 7% benchmark originally suggested would trigger an interest rate rise

Morningstar News Team 14 May, 2014 | 10:40AM
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The UK unemployment rate fell to a five-year low in the first quarter, data from the Office for National Statistics showed Wednesday. The jobless rate declined to 6.8% during January to March, in line with expectations, from 7.2% in October to December. Average earnings pay including bonuses increased 1.7% in the first quarter from a year earlier. Excluding bonuses, average income advanced 1.3%. There were 1.12 million people claiming Jobseeker's Allowance in April, which was down 25,100 from March.

Jobless claims, a narrow measure of unemployment, was expected to fall by 30,000. The claimant count has fallen for 18 consecutive months, ONS said. The claimant count rate came in at 3.3% versus 3.4% in March. Partly due to more self-employed people, employment rose by 283,000 from the prior quarter to 30.43 million in January to March period.

Jeremy Cook, chief economist at the currency company, World First said: “We have seen the biggest quarterly improvement in employment since records began, in 1971, over the past 3 months. Unfortunately this has not come with a continued rise in ‘real wages’, with average earnings only rising by 1.7%, the same as last month.

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