UK unemployment falls to lowest since 2008

UK unemployment fell to its lowest rate since late 2008 between April and June reaching 6.4 per cent, according to the office for National Statistics.

This amounts to 2.8 million unemployed people, some 437,000 less than at the same point in 2013.

The unemployment rate fell by 0.1 per cent from 6.5 per cent for the previous three-month period.

Wages have also fallen for the first time since 2009 with pay including bonuses 0.2 per cent lower than the year before.

ONS says this was mainly due to an unusually high growth rate for April 2013 as some employers who usually paid bonuses in March paid them in April last year. 

Pay excluding bonuses for employees in Great Britain was 0.6 per cent lower than a year earlier.

Capital Economics senior UK economist Samuel Tombs says: ”The latest UK labour market data show that wage growth has remained extremely weak despite a further fall in unemployment and so suggest there is still a large margin of spare capacity in the labour market. 

“Despite this, the headline growth rate of average earnings including bonuses fell again from 0.3 per cent in May to minus 0.2 per cent in June, the lowest rate since May 2009. While weak wage growth alone might not be enough to prevent the MPC from signalling in today’s Inflation Report a strong chance of interest rates rising before the end of 2014, we expect the continued weakness of wages to ensure that they rise only very gradually over the next year.”