The surprise drop in the headline rate - from 7.6 per cent to 7.4 per cent in the three months to October - is a move towards the Bank's threshold level of seven per cent. When unemployment reaches that level the Bank may choose to hike rates.
Rob Wood, chief economist at Berenberg, says that "if productivity does not start rising faster soon, inflationary pressure could build as we head into 2015 and a rate hike would be needed earlier than Mark Carney has been advertising."
If unemployment falls in the same way next month then we'll see a rate of just 7.1 per cent. Nick Beecroft, chairman at Saxo Capital Markets, says that unemployment is approaching the threshold "faster than a speeding bullet".