U.K. Jobless Rate Declines to a Five-Year Low as Economy Rebounds

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U.K. Jobless Rate Declines to a Five-Year Low as Economy ReboundsU.K. jobless rate plunged to its lowest level in five years in the first three months of the year as companies hired a record number of workers.

The Office for the National Statistics reported today that unemployment rate declined to 6.8 percent in the three months to March, down from 6.9 percent in the last quarter of 2013.

The number of unemployed persons in the UK declined by 133,000 to 2.2 million in the first quarter, the lowest since first quarter of 2009. The number of employed persons grew 283,000 to an all-time high of 30.4 million, the most since the government started keeping such records in 1971. The number of persons in self-employment was also at a record high.

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The jobless rate also declined among the youth to the lowest level since 2009. Wages, including bonuses, also increased by 1.7 percent, which was slower than economists had forecasted. With the Consumer Prices Index (CPI), which measures inflation, standing at 1.6 percent in March, earnings growth exceeded inflation rate for the first time since 2010.

When adjusted for bonuses, wages increased by 1.3 percent in the first quarter from a year ago.

“It shows stonking employment growth,” Alan Clarke, a London-based economist at Scotia Bank told Bloomberg. “I would be surprised if we’re not down at 6.7 percent unemployment in the next month or two and continuing steadily downwards. The real question mark is whether this translates into faster wages or not.”

The number of self-employed persons stood at 4.5 million. About 183,000 persons became self-employed in the first quarter, from last year’s growth of 375,000. To register for a free 2-week subscription to ForexMinute Premium Plan, visit www.forexminute.com/newsletter.

To contact the reporter of this story; Jonathan Millet at john@forexminute.com