The United Kingdom’s unemployment rate saw a slight increase to 4.3 per cent during the three months leading up to the end of July, as confirmed by official data released on Tuesday. This marks a marginal rise from the previous quarter’s 4.2 per cent unemployment rate, as reported by the Office for National Statistics (ONS).
In the same period, average regular earnings, excluding bonuses, exhibited a remarkable annual growth rate of 7.8 per cent, a historic high since comparable records began in 2001, according to the ONS.
In response to these figures, Finance Minister Jeremy Hunt emphasised the persistence of elevated wage growth, partly attributed to one-time payments to public sector employees. He stressed the importance of adhering to their plan to combat inflation to ensure sustainable real wage growth.
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak had earlier expressed his intention to halve UK annual inflation, especially when it exceeded 10 per cent, as reported by AFP. However, the current inflation rate remains at 6.8 per cent, surpassing that of other G7 nations.
The Capital Economics research group’s UK economist, Ashley Webb, observed a gradual relaxation in the labour market’s tightness during July. Nevertheless, the substantial wage growth noted is expected to raise concerns at the Bank of England, potentially leading to an anticipated interest rate hike from the current 5.25 per cent to a peak of 5.5 per cent at the upcoming regular policy meeting.