Number of unemployed people in Britain has risen

Number of unemployed people in Britain has risen

According to the Office for National Statistics, an extra 46,000 people joined the jobless total in the last quarter of 2017, edging it up to 4.4 percent.

GDP was also downgraded on an annual basis, increasing by 1.7% between 2016 and 2017 - a downward revision of 0.1% from the preliminary estimate and slightly lower than the 1.9% growth seen between 2015 and 2016.

Alongside employment figures, the ONS noted that United Kingdom productivity also grew during the quarter, marking its strongest output since the financial crisis.

'The UK economy is still estimated to have slowed markedly in the first half of 2017 as higher inflation - linked primarily to the weaker pound after the Brexit vote - dampened real household spending power'.

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British government bond prices rose and sterling briefly fell against the USA dollar after Wednesday's figures showed the sharpest rise in the number of people out of work in nearly five years.

Unemployment over the three months came in at 4.4%, up on the 4.3% in last month's readings, but it's down from 4.8% in the previous year. Household budgets were under pressure a year ago as the fall in the pound following the Brexit vote led to prices increasing faster than wages.

Earnings not including bonuses rose by 2.5 percent year-on-year.

Thomas Pope, a research economist at the Institute for Fiscal Studies, said that the chancellor will be "pleased" with the most recent figures, which enables him to lower the borrowing forecast in this year's Spring Statement next month.

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Unemployment rates are calculated by people who are registered looking for work as a proportion of the working age population.

Chris Williamson, chief business economist at IHS Markit (Stuttgart: A1139A - news), said the figures contained "mixed message" for Bank of England rate-setters. Including bonuses, the rate was unchanged at 2.5 percent.

GDP per head, which strips out the effects of a rising population, grew by 0.2 per cent in the fourth quarter, meaning it is only three per cent above the peak hit before the financial crisis.

Meanwhile, growth in the number of EU nationals working in Britain slowed and the number of eastern European workers fell. Officials say that more tightening will be needed to keep prices in check, though Carney refused to be drawn on the exact timing of the next hike on Wednesday.

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