UK jobless falls, pay growth at record low

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UK jobless falls, pay growth at record low

UK jobless falls, pay growth at record low
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The unemployment rate in Britain has fallen again. In the three months up to May it was as 6.5 percent of the workforce, the lowest level since late 2008.

It is another sign of the recovery in Britain’s economy and raises questions about how long the Bank of England can keep in place the stimulus that comes from record low interest rates.

The rise in employment was due mainly to people being hired by companies, rather than becoming self-employed which was the case in previous months.

The number of people in employment rose by 254,000 to 30.643 million in the three months through May.

Earnings growth weak

Figures released at the same time showed workers’ earnings grew at the slowest rate on record.

In the three months through May, total pay including bonuses rose a yearly 0.3 percent, the weakest growth since the depths of the financial crisis five years ago, the Office for National Statistics said.

That was down from a yearly rise of 0.8 percent in the three months to April.

Britain’s ruling Conservative Party is highlighting the fall in unemployment as it tries to win over voters ahead of the May 2015 national elections. But the opposition Labour party is focusing on what it calls Britain’s cost of living crisis.

Pay growth was below inflation for most of the period since 2008 but narrowly overtook it at the start of this year before falling back again.