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UK’s unemployment rate rises due to economic uncertainty



Britain’s unemployment rate rose by more than expected, and earnings growth eased back once again in the latest sign that economic uncertainty is affecting the UK jobs market.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said the jobless rate had jumped to 4.2 per cent in the three months to February, the highest level for nearly six months.

The jobless rate started from 3.9 per cent in three months to January.

Most economists had been expecting the rate to only edge up slightly to 4 per cent in the quarter.

Then, the official figures showed the regular wage growth, excluding bonuses, falling back once again, to 6 per cent in the three months to February.

But, thanks to falling inflation, when taking the Consumer Prices Index (CPI) into account, real regular wages rose by 2.1 per cent, which was the highest for almost two-and-a-half years.

Liz McKeown, ONS director of economic statistics, said, “Recent trends of falling vacancy numbers and slowing earnings growth had continued this month, though at a reduced pace.

“At the same time, we are now seeing tentative signs that the jobs market is beginning to cool.

“Also, a fall in the headline employment rate from our survey and a drop in the total number of people on payrolls from HMRC data.”

Cecilia Odey

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