Employment rate at record 73% in a boost for coalition


Britain's employment rate climbed to a record high of 73.3% in the three months to January, while the unemployment rate held steady at 5.7%, far lower than the EU-wide average of almost 10%. However wage news was disappointing for the government: average weekly earnings in the three months to January were just 1.8% higher than a year earlier, less than the 2.2% economists had expected and the 2.1% recorded in the previous month. In February the Bank of England predicted annual wage growth would pick up to about 3.5% by the end of the year. Matthew Whittaker, chief economist at the Resolution Foundation, said: 'The level of nominal pay growth remains surprisingly muted given the strength of the employment picture'.


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