UK Jobless Rate Fell in July

By Jason Douglas and Toby Luckhurst Features Dow Jones Newswires

The unemployment rate in the U.K. fell in July to its lowest level in more than four decades, fueled by increasing participation in the labor force.

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Real wage growth, which takes into account inflation, declined for the fifth straight month, though, highlighting a continued squeeze on households' living standards that is sapping economic growth.

The Office for National Statistics said Wednesday the jobless rate in the U.K. declined to 4.3% in the three months through July, its lowest level since early 1975.

The number of people in work hit a fresh record high of 32.1 million, as those staying out of the workforce to look after their home or care for family members sank to 2.1 million, the lowest level since records began.

Average annual wage growth held steady at 2.1% compared with the previous three months, though after inflation British pay packets shrank by 0.4%.

Officials at the Bank of England have signaled they are inching closer to raising interest rates in the U.K. despite weak wage growth. The BOE is, however, expected to leave its benchmark rate steady this month when it announces its latest policy decision Thursday.

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Write to Jason Douglas at Jason.Douglas@wsj.com and Toby Luckhurst at Toby.Luckhurst@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

September 13, 2017 05:26 ET (09:26 GMT)