UK jobless rate rises

 
City A.M. Reporter
The number of Britons claiming unemployment benefit fell unexpectedly last month, while the number of people out of work rose in the three months to November, official data showed.

The Office for National Statistics said the number of people claiming jobless benefit fell by 4,100 last month, confounding forecasts for a rise of 1,500 and after a revised 3,200 decline in November.

However, the number of people out of work on the internationally-comparable ILO measure, rose by 49,000 to 2.498m in the three months to November – the biggest rise since March 2010 – and taking the jobless rate to 7.9 per cent, in line with forecasts.

Bank of England policymakers will be reassured by data showing wage growth held steady in the three months to November, suggesting that persistently high inflation and rising public expectations of price rises are not fuelling higher pay settlements.

Average weekly earnings growth including bonuses held at 2.1 percent in the three months to November, below forecasts for a reading of 2.2 per cent and after a downwardly revised 2.1 percent in the three months to October.

Excluding bonuses, the rate was also steady at 2.3 per cent in the three months to November. However, the rate for November alone picked up to 2.4 per cent, its highest since February 2009.