TOP NEWS: UK jobless rate rises as pay fails to keep up with inflation

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Data from the Office for National Statistics on Tuesday showed the UK unemployment rate unexpectedly rose in April.

The jobless rate rose to 3.8% in the three months to April, up from 3.7% in March and confounding market expectations, according to FXStreet, for an improvement to 3.6%.

At the same time, average earnings excluding bonuses rose 4.2% on an annual basis, in line with the reading for March and ahead of FXStreet-cited consensus of 4.0%. Including bonuses, wages grew 6.8%, below consensus of 7.6% and softening from 7.0% in March.

After accounting for soaring inflation, average pay including bonuses rose 0.4%, but when stripping bonuses out, pay fell 2.2% in real terms.

The ONS's Sam Beckett said the figures continue to show a ‘mixed picture’.

‘Unemployment is close to a fifty-year low point, and there was a record low number of redundancies. Job vacancies are still slowly rising, too,’ the ONS head of Economic Statistics said.

However, she added: ‘The high level of bonuses continues to cushion the effects of rising prices on total earnings for some workers, but if you exclude bonuses, pay in real terms is falling at its fastest rate in over a decade.’

By Lucy Heming; lucyheming@alliancenews.com

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