UK Unemployment Rate Rises for First Time in Over Two Years, Earnings Growth Faster

Britain’s unemployment rate unexpectedly rose for the first time since 2013 in the three months to May, official data showed on Wednesday.

But the Office for National Statistics also said total earnings, including bonuses, showed their strongest gain in more than five years.

The ONS said the unemployment rate rose to 5.6 percent from 5.5 percent in the three months to April as the number of people in employment fell by 67,000, driven by lower numbers of people in part-time work.

It was the first time that the unemployment rate rose since early 2013, shortly before Britain’s economy started to recover strongly from the after-effects of the financial crisis.

Economists have previously said they expected the strong pace of job creation in Britain to slow.

A survey published earlier this month by a group representing recruiters found companies were pushing up starting salaries for new hires in response to a lack of suitable candidates for their vacancies.

An ONS official said he was unable to comment on whether the rise in unemployment and the fall in employment was related to Britain’s national elections held on May 7.

Wednesday’s data suggested the labour market remained weaker than in previous months in June when the number of people claiming unemployment benefit rose by 7,000.

It was the first increase in that measure of unemployment since October 2012.


Craig Erlam
Based in London, England, Craig Erlam joined OANDA in 2015 as a Market Analyst. With more than five years' experience as a financial market analyst and trader, he focuses on both fundamental and technical analysis while conducting macroeconomic commentary. He has been published by The Financial Times, Reuters, the BBC and The Telegraph, and he also appears regularly as a guest commentator on Bloomberg TV, CNBC, FOX Business and BNN. Craig holds a full membership to the Society of Technical Analysts and he is recognized as a Certified Financial Technician by the International Federation of Technical Analysts.