tiptrot.com July 16, 2018

United Kingdom economy wins wages boost, unemployment dips

18 April 2018, 12:28 | Cedric Leonard

Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May attends a Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting Youth Forum in London

Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May attends a Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting Youth Forum in London

"A lot of the detail in the report suggests the labour market is still tightening", Philip Shaw, an economist with Investec, said.

Unemployment in the United Kingdom fell unexpectedly between December and February, according to new data released by the Office for National Statistics on Tuesday. The Office for National Statistics said the unemployment rate unexpectedly fell to 4.2 percent, its lowest since the three months to May 1975. With unemployment at its lowest level since the 1970s, employers have begun raising pay for staff more quickly, though by less than increases of about 4 percent a year before the financial crisis. That's 55,000 more than in the previous period. That's higher than the rate of inflation, which was 2.7% at the most recent reading.

Wages grew on average by 2.8% over the period.

The wages news came as a report by the Resolution Foundation predicted that falling United Kingdom home ownership rates mean a third of millennials will spend their lives in rented housing.

Annual pay growth excluding bonuses accelerated to 2.8 per cent in the three months through February, the Office for National Statistics said Tuesday.

Matt Hughes, senior ONS statistician, said: "The labour market continues to be strong and, for the first time in nearly a year, earnings have grown slightly after inflation has been taken into account". "The unemployment rate fell, too, and is at its lowest since 1975".

The return to real terms wage growth will revive hopes for the high street, where retailers have been struggling thanks to the strain on consumers' finances.

Sterling touched its highest level against the dollar since the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union, with currency bulls supported by seasonal flows traditionally seen in April, the dollar's weakness and money-market traders betting on a Bank of England interest-rate increase next month.

Work and Pensions Secretary Esther McVey said: "Another milestone for employment has been reached under this Government as employment reaches a record high, up 3.2 million since 2010 - the 16th time the employment record has been broken in the same period". BANK OF ENGLAND'S PAY FOCUS The BoE has said it expects the fall in unemployment to start pushing up pay more quickly, the main reason why it has said it is likely to raise borrowing costs a bit faster than it previously thought.

The pound, which hit a new post-Brexit high against the dollar on Tuesday morning, was little changed after the release.

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