UK Jobless Rate Remains Unchanged, Wage Pressures Rise Further

The UK unemployment rate remained unchanged in the three months to November and wage pressures intensified despite the economy heading into a recession.

Data from the Office for National Statistics showed that the ILO jobless rate held steady at 3.7 percent in the three months to November, as expected.

Average earnings excluding bonuses increased 6.4 percent in the three months to November, which was the fastest since records began in 2001, excluding the height of the coronavirus pandemic. Economists had forecast an increase of 6.3 percent.

Earnings including bonuses also grew 6.4 percent annually, faster than economists’ forecast of 6.2 percent.

In December, the claimant count rose to a seven-month high of 4.0 percent from 3.9 percent in November. Jobless claims increased by 19,700 from the previous month.

In the three months to December, job vacancies declined 75,000 from September to 1.16 million. Despite six consecutive quarterly falls, the ONS said the number of vacancies remained at historically high levels.

In December, payrolled employees showed another monthly increase of 28,000 on November to 29.9 million.

The ONS said there were 467,000 working days lost because of labor disputes in November, which was the highest since November 2011.

Businesses are still experiencing a relentlessly tight labor market, Jane Gratton, head of people policy at the BCC, said.

“If firms can’t hire the staff to fulfill their order books, any room for growth is extremely limited.”

Data suggest the impact of the forthcoming recession on the jobs market will be more moderate than in some of the past recessions, ING Economist James Smith said.

The labor market is the biggest argument in favor of another 50 basis-point rate hike by the Bank of England, the economist added.

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