UK unemployment rate holds steady

UK unemployment rate holds steady

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The UK jobless rate held steady at a near 11-year low of 4.9% in the three months to August, figures show.

Unemployment saw a “small” rise of 10,000 to 1.66 million, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said.

“These figures show that employment continued to grow over the summer and vacancies remain at high levels, suggesting continuing confidence in the economy,” the ONS said.

Average weekly earnings grew by 2.3%, a slight fall from the previous month.

The employment figures sent the pound up against the dollar and euro, rising back above $1.23 and €1.12.

ONS statistician Nick Palmer said that although there was a “small rise” in unemployment, it was accompanied by more people actively seeking work.

‘More to do’

The figures also showed the number of people in jobs remained at a record high of 31.8 million.

Employment Minister Damian Hinds welcomed the data, but said: “There’s more to do, particularly when it comes to supporting young people into employment.”

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Scott Bowman, UK economist at Capital Economics, said: “August’s UK labour market data showed that the EU referendum still hasn’t provided much of a hit to the jobs recovery.”

However, others said an easing in the pace of job creation suggested the employment market was slowing down.

Howard Archer, chief UK economist at IHS Markit, said “cracks are appearing”, as jobs growth dipped to 106,000, compared with the 174,000 jobs added in the three months to July.

The unemployment estimates come from the Labour Force Survey in which the ONS talks to 40,000 households.

Although it is a very large survey, there is still a margin of error. The ONS says it is 95% confident that the figure of a 10,000 rise in unemployment is correct to within 79,000.

As the estimated change is smaller than the margin of error, it means the change in unemployment is not statistically significant.

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