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UK unemployment rate hits lowest level since 1975

By AFP - Aug 16,2017 - Last updated at Aug 16,2017

Workers are seen reflected in office windows as they cross London Bridge during the morning rush hour in London on Wednesday (Reuters photo)

LONDON — Britain's unemployment rate has struck a new 42-year low, official data showed on Wednesday, as the uncertainty of Brexit boosts temporary hirings.

The rate dipped to 4.4 per cent in the three months to June to record the lowest level since 1975, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said in a statement. It had stood at 4.5 per cent in the quarter to May.

A total of 1.48 million people were recorded as unemployed at the end of June, down 157,000 compared with a year earlier, although growth in wages has been struggling to keep pace with inflation.

"The employment picture remains strong, with a new record high employment rate and another fall in the unemployment rate," said ONS Senior Labour Market Statistician Matt Hughes.

"Despite the strong jobs picture, however, real earnings continue to decline."

Employment reached an all-time high, rising by 125,000 to 32.07 million people in the three months to June.

"The headline figures shout growth and stability — and yet there's a huge amount of uncertainty on the ground, particularly due to Brexit," said David Morel, head of employment firm Tiger Recruitment.

"Against a backdrop of political and economic uncertainty, people are choosing to stay put rather than speculatively look for other jobs."

 

But he noted that "Brexit-related and broader economic uncertainty" was supporting the temporary jobs market as employers "have put their permanent hiring on hold".

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