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United Kingdom unemployment rate rises to 4.4 percent

United Kingdom unemployment rate rises to 4.4 percent

The UK economy recorded slower-than-expected growth in the final three months of previous year, posing fresh questions for the Bank of England as it eyes a further hike to interest rates.

Discussions over the trading relationship between the government and the EU are due to resume soon, and many businesses, particularly in the finance sector, are hoping that a transition deal will be agreed on shortly whereby Britain will remain in the tariff-free European single market and customs union for a period after Brexit.

There was also a better-than-expected rise in wages, although it still trails behind inflation, which stood at 3 percent in December, 2017.

Wages, on average, grew by 2.5%, up from 2.4% the previous month.

The UK economy grew less than estimated in the fourth quarter, partly reflecting revision to production output, the second estimate from the Office for National Statistics showed Thursday.

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

The number of people classed as economically inactive, including students, those on long-term sick leave, taken early retirement or who have given up looking for work, fell by 109,000 to 8.7 million, giving a rate of 21%.

Chris Williamson, chief business economist at IHS Markit (Stuttgart: A1139A - news), said the figures contained "mixed message" for Bank of England rate-setters.

Excluding bonuses, earnings rose by 2.5% year-on-year against expectations for a 2.4% rise.

In January, the claimant count rate fell to 2.3 percent from 2.4 percent in December.

Services - the biggest part of the United Kingdom economy - grew 0.6 per cent in the fourth quarter, though downward revisions to components including distribution, hotels and restaurants contributed to the revision in headline GDP.

Overall migration data have shown a drop in net migration from the bloc into the Britain since the "Brexit" vote.

The ONS has released its latest unemployment figures.

Pope added: "An upwards revision to estimated receipts of corporation tax, PAYE and National Insurance over the first nine months of this financial year have contributed to borrowing being over £2bn lower than thought a month ago".

In November, the official budget watchdog had forecast borrowing of 49.9 billion pounds (about $69 billion) for the full year.


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