UK wages are rising even as unemployment ticks higher

UK wages are rising even as unemployment ticks higher

UK wages are rising even as unemployment ticks higher

Britain's jobless rate rose for the first time in nearly two years at the end of 2017 and pay growth remained modest, keeping the Bank of England waiting for an acceleration in wages that would justify a new interest rate hike.

Households lost spending power previous year because of a jump in inflation, caused by the fall in the pound after the British vote to exit the European Union.

The number in unemployment rose by 46,000 to 1.47 million compared the previous three months.

Unemployment in Britain has risen for the first time since the aftermath of the country's June 2016 vote to leave the European Union, official figures showed Wednesday, a development that could alter market expectations of another interest rate increase from the Bank of England in May.

The number of people in work continued to rise over the last three months of 2017 to 32.15 million, but the increase of 88,000 was much smaller than expected.

Pay for workers in Britain picked up in the fourth quarter and productivity gained as fewer jobs were filled by foreign nationals in the previous year.

But the Bank of England expects pay to pick up soon, a big reason why it said earlier this month that interest rates are likely to rise faster and to a greater extent than they thought a few months previously. And productivity growth has seen its strongest two quarters since the 2008 recession.

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United Kingdom average weekly earnings for the three months to December remained 2.5% higher than the same period a year before for the third consecutive reading, as expected, though it jumped by 2.8% if the month of December was taken alone.

The number of people in work fell for the first time since August 2016. And private sector pay growth accelerated to 2.6% from 2.3%.

ONS statistician Matt Hughes said: "While this is the sharpest increase in the unemployment level ONS has seen in nearly five years, the number of people in work has continued to rise and there are fewer "economically inactive" people - those neither working nor looking for a job".

Overall migration data have shown a drop in net migration from the bloc into the Britain since the "Brexit" vote.

In November, Britain's Office for Budget Responsibility forecast borrowing of 49.9 billion pounds for the full year.

The finance ministry said Wednesday's figures were considered strong.

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