Strong Improvement In UK Unemployment
The National Statistics office has just released an update on range of employment data for the British Economy. The headline ILO Unemployment Rate has been published at 6.9% this is an improvement on expectations of 7.1% and three points lower than the previous figure of 7.2%.
The Claimant Count Change is correspondingly lower at -30.4k this month compared to -34.6k previously, the Claimant Count Rate now becomes 3.4% for February from 3.6% in January.
As a further sign of strengthening in the British employment market the Average Earnings figures have increased the pace at which they are growing. Average Earnings Excluding Bonuses grew by 1.4% last month, this is up from growth of 1.2% the previous month however it missed the consensus estimate for an increase of 1.7%. When including bonuses in this statistic the rate of increase in earnings rises to 1.7%, up from 1.4% the previous month but again missing the consensus estimate for a 1.8% growth rate.
Falling unemployment in the UK presents a further confirmation of the rapidly strengthening British economy, today’s figures however contain a positive surprise element. After significant reductions earlier in the year the UK’s unemployment situation had appeared to stabalize with a rate of 7% providing a barrier to further improvement.
The Bank of England has made clear that it is no longer focusing on unemployment as a target to influence it’s monetary policy decisions, but if the rate of improvement in the employment situation continues at the pace demonstrated today it will become very difficult for the Bank of England to ignore. There is however wide acknowledgement from the British Central Bankers as well as from Government that there is an uneven jobs recovery taking place in the UK, the Southeast surrounding London is attracting all the jobs at the expense of growth in weaker areas of the country.
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