London / Bloomberg
Britain’s unemployment rate remains at its lowest level in a decade, official data showed on Wednesday.
Unemployment stood at 5.1 percent in the three months to December, unchanged from the three months to November, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said. That was the lowest rate, or proportion of the workforce that are unemployed, since October 2005.
The jobless total meanwhile sank 172,000 to 1.69 million people in the final quarter of last year compared with a year earlier.
The ONS added that more than 31.4 million people are in work, which is the highest level since records began in 1971.
Average weekly wages, including bonuses, rose by 1.9 percent in the year to December, down 0.2 percentage points from the previous month. “December’s UK labour data continued to paint a mixed picture,” said ING economist James Smith.
“On the one hand, the unemployment rate remained at 5.1 percent, which … continues to signal that the labour market remains tight. “More importantly though, wages pressures continue to remain subdued.” He added: “In our opinion, the underlying strength of the labour market means that it is only a matter of time before wages start to pick up more meaningfully again.”