British unemployment rate has fallen to 4.6 per cent in three months to March, hitting the lowest since 1975, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) has said. A year earlier the figure was 5.1 per cent. The number of jobless people, who are not in work but seeking and available to work, fell by 53,000 to 1.54 million in the first quarter this year, Xinhua news agency reported on Thursday.
Meanwhile, the employment rate, the proportion of 16 to 64 year olds in work, was 74.8 per cent, the highest since comparable records began in 1971.
However, despite the sustained fall in unemployment and rise in employment, wage growth has slowed down further, even lagging behind inflation for the first time since mid-2014.
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Average weekly earnings excluding bonuses increased by 2.1 per cent in the three months to March, while inflation rose by 2.3 per cent in the year to March 2017.
The Bank of England (BoE) has warned of a consumer spending squeeze this year as inflation rises and real wages fall in its latest Inflation Report.
This year will be “a more challenging time for British households” and “wages won’t keep up with prices,” BoE governor Mark Carney said.