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UK unemployment rate unexpectedly drops in May

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Staff Writer | July 21, 2016
The number of unemployed in the UK fell to its lowest level in nearly a decade over the three months ending in May, although the rate of wage growth was again a tad short of expectations.
UK unemployment
Employment in Britain   The claimant count rose by 12,200
The claimant count rose by 12,200 month-to-month in May and by a further 400 (consensus: 3,000) in June, while the three-month average level of job vacancies fell in June to its lowest level since November.

Unemployed people, those not work but seeking to be, numbered 1.65m over the reference period, according to the Office for National Statistics, the smallest tally since March to May 2008.

In parallel, those who were employed jumped to 31.70m over that same time-frame, to stand at 31.70m, 624,000 more than a year before.

Combined, that saw the rate of unemployment drop from 5.0% over the prior three-month period to 4.9%, versus economists´ forecasts for an unchanged reading, to reach its lowest since July to September of 2005.

The so-called inactivity rate (which tracks those not working and not seeking or available to work) was 21.6%, the lowest since comparable records began in 1971, ONS said.

Average weekly earnings including bonuses increased by 2.3% (consensus: 2.3%) after rising by 2.0% in the previous quarter and by 2.2% excluding bonuses (consensus: 2.4%) compared with a year earlier.

Excluding bonuses average weekly earnings grew at a 2.3% year-on-year pace over the three months ending in April. â–