Jobless rate rises to worst in two years

The markets were taken by surprise after the latest data from the Office for National Statistics showed the worst set of official jobs figures in two years. Unemployment rose to 5.6% in the three months to May and employment fell by 67,000. It was the first fall in employment since April 2013. The fall in employment was entirely in part-time work, with 97,000 fewer positions, while employment in full-time work continued to rise, by 30,000. The pound fell as traders judged that the figures meant that an early interest rate rise by the Bank of England was now less likely. The ONS also reported that average earnings rose by 3.2% in the best three-monthly performance since April 2010, but short of expectations of 3.3%. Vicky Redwood, chief UK economist at Capital Economics, said slower jobs growth suggests that stronger wage growth is prompting firms to focus on productivity rather than hiring. 


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