United Kingdom wage growth stirs into life as unemployment rises

Latest Figures Show UK Unemployment Has Risen Above 2 Million

The O.N.S. said the number of European Union nationals working in Britain rose by an annual 4.5 percent over the fourth quarter, the smallest increase since the third quarter of 2013.

However, Norway believes that the marginal change is well within the margin of error.

British government bond prices rose and sterling briefly fell against the USA dollar after Wednesday's figures showed the sharpest rise in the number of people out of work in nearly five years.

However, the number of people in work also increased, rising by 88,000 in the final three months of 2017.

"However, while pay growth appears to be perking up, there are other signs that the labour market is starting to cool", he said, with the unemployment rate rising and the number of unemployed rising for a third successive month, though this was linked to fewer people seeking employment, rather than redundancies.

The Bank of England is anticipating a pick-up in wage growth soon - a key reason why it recently signalled that interest rates were likely to rise faster and to a greater extent than previously thought.

Average weekly earnings excluding bonuses increased by 2.5 per cent compared to a year earlier, the ONS said.

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The ONS attributed the rise in unemployment to a fall in the number of people who are neither working nor looking for a job. This was the first increase in the unemployment rate in almost two years.

Officials from the Bank of England may take encouragement from pay increasing 2.8 percent on the year in December alone. Including bonuses, the rate was unchanged at 2.5 percent.

The claimant count fell by a seasonally adjusted 7,200 in January, compared to expectations for a gain of 2,300 people, following an increase of 6,200 a month earlier. In midday trading, the pound was 0.5 percent lower at $1.3921.

With consumer price inflation at 3.0%, the stubbornly low wage growth means household real incomes continue be squeezed.

"Rising employment this past year was largely driven by United Kingdom nationals".

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".

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