UK unemployment falls to lowest rate in a decade

Jobs-Ad-Newspaper-Employment-700.pngThe UK’s unemployment rate fell to 5 per cent in the three months to April, marking the lowest level since 2005, figures from Office for National Statistics show.

The number of unemployed people fell by 20,000 to 1.67m, while the employment rate remained at a record high of 74.2 per cent, with the number of people in work rising by 55,000.

Earnings including bonuses were 2 per cent higher on a year earlier, the ONS said.

Hargreaves Lansdown senior economist Ben Brettell says the “unexpected new data” is good news amidst Brexit-related uncertainty.

He says: “Sterling strengthened after the data was released, though any gains may be tempered by continued fears the UK could vote to leave the EU next week. Betting markets currently show a 37.4 per cent chance of a so-called Brexit, with this figure having been just 19.4 per cent as recently as three weeks ago.

“Bank of England governor Mark Carney has laid the blame for recent economic weakness squarely at the referendum’s door. The bank’s policy response in the event of a Brexit would be a fine balance between boosting flagging economic activity and dealing with elevated inflation caused by a weaker pound. I expect the Bank would tolerate significantly above-target inflation in order to get the economy back on track.”