Published: Fri, February 23, 2018
Medical | By Alyssa Little

United Kingdom rate in unemployment rises for first time in two years

United Kingdom rate in unemployment rises for first time in two years

'The UK economy is still estimated to have slowed markedly in the first half of 2017 as higher inflation - linked primarily to the weaker pound after the Brexit vote - dampened real household spending power'.

The UK jobless rate increased for the first time in almost two years in the fourth quarter and wages grew at a steady pace.

United Kingdom unemployment has increased for the first time in nearly two years, new figures have revealed.

Alongside employment figures, the ONS noted that United Kingdom productivity also grew during the quarter, marking its strongest output since the financial crisis.

Although it has risen, the jobless rate remains low.

In other words, the downward revision is in line the BoE's view of the economy and so may not deter the Monetary Policy Committee from the more hawkish path it set itself on in February's inflation report.

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Chris Williamson, chief business economist at IHS Markit (Stuttgart: A1139A - news), said the figures contained "mixed message" for Bank of England rate-setters.

Unemployment unexpectedly rose by 46,000 to 1.47 million in the three months to December, official figures show.

The ONS said the rise in unemployment has been driven by a growing number if young people who are not able to find work.

The 0.1% increase didn't halt the total number of people in employment, however, with the figure rising to 88,000.

In 2017, the economy grew 1.7%, which was also slower than the previous estimate of 1.8%.

This means wages have fallen for the third consecutive reading and still lag inflation which was recorded at 3% for January.

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Earnings, excluding bonus, also climbed 2.5 percent annually.

Services - the biggest part of the United Kingdom economy - grew 0.6 per cent in the fourth quarter, though downward revisions to components including distribution, hotels and restaurants contributed to the revision in headline GDP.

'In particular, fewer citizens of the eastern European countries that joined the EU in 2004 and of non-EU countries were in work than in the year before.

Overall migration data have shown a drop in net migration from the bloc into the Britain since the "Brexit" vote.

Separate ONS figures showed finance minister Philip Hammond likely to meet his target for cutting Britain's budget deficit this year with room to spare.

With only two months left in the 2017/18 financial year, cumulative borrowing now stands at £37.7 billion, down 16% on the same point a year ago.

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