UK unemployment rate jumps by more than expected as job market cools

International |  IANS  | Published :

London, April 16 (IANS/DPA) The UK's unemployment rate has risen by more than expected and earnings growth has eased back once again in the latest sign that economic uncertainty is affecting the country's jobs market.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said the jobless rate jumped to 4.2 per cent in the three months to February - the highest level for nearly six months and up from 3.9 per cent in the three months to January.

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

The official figures also showed regular wages 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 is 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 have continued this month, albeit at a reduced pace.

"At the same time, we are now seeing tentative signs that the jobs market is beginning to cool, with both a fall in the headline employment rate from our survey and a drop in the total number of people on payrolls from HMRC data."

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