UK jobless rate rises as people return to labor market
LONDON -Britain’s unemployment rate unexpectedly rose to 3.9 percent in the three months to March as more people sought to get back into the jobs market, potentially easing concerns at the Bank of England about inflation pressures.
Economists polled by Reuters had expected the rate to hold at 3.8 percent.
“Employment and unemployment both rose again in the first three months of 2023, driven in particular by men,” Darren Morgan, director of economic statistics at the Office for National Statistics, said.
“This means the number of those neither working nor looking for work continues to fall, although the number of people not working due to long-term sickness rose again, to a new record.”
The ONS also said provisional data from Britain’s tax office showed a first fall in payrolled employees in more than two years in April, down by 136,000 from March.
However, pay growth – which is at the heart of the Bank of England’s debate about whether to raise interest rates further – remained strong by historical standards.
Basic pay rose by 6.7 percent in the three months to March compared with the same period last year, official data showed on Tuesday.
The economists polled by Reuters had expected basic earnings to grow by 6.8 percent.