UK Jobless Rate Falls to 43-Year Low, but Pay Growth Weakens

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"This will not be what the Bank of England will have wanted to see, as one of the justifications for [its] decision to hike rates earlier this month was that it was expecting wage growth to start lifting off".

However, average earnings increased by 2.4 per cent in the year to June, down from 2.5 per cent the previous month and equal to the current the rate of inflation.

The number of people in work continued to increase - up by 42,000 to 32.39 million, although the rate remained at 75 per cent, said the Office for National Statistics.

Compared with the same three months of 2017 - when Scottish employment was at a record high - the number seeking work was up by 7,000, and the number of those aged 16 to 64 in employment was down by 3,000.

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Unemployment across the United Kingdom has fallen to 1.36 million, its lowest for 40 years, amid a warning that a shrinking labour force is hampering businesses.

The rate of wages growth to the end of June declining to an annual rate of 2.4 percent from an annual rate of 2.5 percent to the end of May.

The spike in vacancies coincided with a record fall in the number of European Union nationals working in the United Kingdom, a continuing trend since the Brexit referendum.

There are 780,000 people in employment on "zero-hours contracts" in their main job, 104,000 fewer than for a year earlier.

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Flash figures for the second quarter show output per hour rose 0.4%, leaving productivity up just 1.5% year-on-year - below the rates enjoyed before the financial crisis.

Dr Stuart McIntyre, of the Fraser of Allander Institute, an economic think-tank based at Strathclyde University, said Scotland and the United Kingdom were experiencing "historically low levels of unemployment and high levels of employment".

It means the number of European nationals in the United Kingdom now sits at 2.28 million. Economists had expected it to stay at 4.2%.

The fall may also be included in the list of reasons of the British Central Bank (BoE) had raised interest rates earlier this month.

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"Achieving sustained increases in wage growth remains a key challenge, with sluggish productivity, underemployment and the myriad of high upfront business costs weighing down on pay settlements", he said.

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