LONDON (Reuters) – Britain’s unemployment rate unexpectedly rose to 3.9% in the three months to March as more people sought to return to the job market, which could ease the Bank of England’s Concerns about inflationary pressures.
Economists polled by Reuters had expected rates to remain at 3.8%.
Sterling fell against the dollar and euro as investors recalibrated their views on the chances of the Bank of England pausing its rate increase at its next meeting in June. Interest rate futures peg such a pause at approximately 30%.
Provisional figures from the HM Inland Revenue showed the total number of employed people fell in April for the first time in more than two years, down from March, the ONS said 000,.
In the three months to April, it was the lowest level since the mid-term 2021.
However, pay growth – which is at the heart of the BoE debate on whether to raise rates
Base wages in the three months to March were at the same level as a year earlier It was up 6.7 percent from the previous year, slightly higher than last year’s 6.6 percent gain in the three months to February.
Economists polled by Reuters expect basic income to rise 6.8%.
The increase was driven by an increase in public sector workers driven by accelerating wage growth.
Annual wage growth including bonuses held at 5.8%, as expected in a Reuters poll.
Darren Morgan, director of economic statistics at the ONS, said the flow of people returning to work or looking for work was particularly driven by men.
Long-term illnesses rose to new records, Morgan said.