Published: Wed, February 21, 2018
World | By Paul Elliott

Unemployment in Wales rises again

Unemployment in Wales rises again

They may also fuel speculation that the Bank of England could raise interest rates again as early as May after policy makers said the Brexit vote had lowered the pace the economy can grow without fanning inflation.

The employment rate remains at a near high but weekly wages actually fell in the three months to December, official statistics reveal. In the same period of past year, the rate was 4.8%.

However, the ONS noted that the numbers of people in work continued to rise over the quarter, increasing by 88,000, and that there was a 109,000 fall in the number of people classed as economically inactive, which helped boost the jobless rate.

John Hawksworth, chief economist at PwC, said the unexpected rise "is not a sign of labour market weakness" because there was a "healthy rise in total employment".

Separate ONS figures showed Britain's government recorded a January budget surplus of 10 billion pounds, slightly bigger than forecast and helped by a seasonal surge of income tax receipts at the start of the year.

It is 9,000 higher in Wales than the same three months in 2016. This increase remained below inflation. Private- sector pay gains accelerated to 2.6% from 2.5%.

Excluding bonuses, earnings rose by 2.5 percent year-on-year against expectations for a 2.4 percent rise.

The number of unemployed people increased by 46,000 to 1.47m in the three months to December, when compared with July to September 2017.

That marked the strongest two quarters for productivity since the 2008/09 recession.

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