Unemployment at lowest level since 1975

The pound has jumped 0.3pc higher against the dollar this morning

The pound has jumped 0.3pc higher against the dollar this morning

There was an 181,000 improvement in employment in the three months to July compared to the three months to April. It also promised more "flexibility" for all public sector workers' pay from 2018.

The employment rate also rose by 0.5% to a record high of 75.3% on the quarter.

"The employment rate (the proportion of people aged from 16 to 64 who were in work) was 75.3 per cent, the highest since comparable records began in 1971", the Office of National Statistics (ONS) said in a statement.

Unemployment fell in Wales between May and July and is now at the same rate as the rest of the UK. However, in nominal terms (not adjusted for inflation), average weekly earnings increased by 2.1%.

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Although the unemployment rate fell even further below the Bank of England's estimate of the equilibrium rate, wage growth continues to be disappointingly flat, Andrew Wishart, an economist at Capital Economics, said.

With inflation hitting its joint highest level in over five years of 2.9% in August, wages are failing to keep up with inflation. The figure was 379,000 higher than in the corresponding period past year and higher than analysts' expectations for an 154,000 gain.

The unions of prison officers threatened industrial action dismissing the pay rises announced.

The BoE is to hold its next policy meeting on Thursday.

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While the lack of wage growth suggests the current surge in inflation will ultimately fizzle out, the strong growth in hiring points to greater robustness in the economy. Economists had forecast a rise of 2.3%.

"Despite earnings rising by 2.1% in cash terms over the past year, the real value of people's earnings is down 0.4%".

Ed Monk, associate director for personal investing at Fidelity International, said lagging wages makes it more likely the Bank of England will look through rising inflation when it decides on interest rates this week.

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