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Newswire: Jobless Total Now At 2.9%

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UK Nov Adj Claimant Jobless +10,500 At 2.9% Of Workforce

By Ilona Billington


LONDON (Dow Jones)--Once again, the number of people claiming unemployment benefits in the U.K. rose, pushing the jobless rate up to 2.9% in November, the highest rate since January 2004.

At the same time the average earnings rate slowed to a 28-month low of 3.6%.

National Statistics said Wednesday that the widely watched claimant count measure of unemployment, which has been increasing for ten straight months, rose by 10,500 compared with a revised 13,500 increase in October.

The jobless rate for October was also revised upwards to 2.9%, NS said.

The previous estimate of claimant count unemployment was a rise in the claimant count of 12,100 and a jobless rate of 2.8%.

The data come as a surprise as economists surveyed by Dow Jones Newswires had forecast claimant count unemployment to rise by just 8,000, and for the jobless rate to remain at 2.8%.

Earnings for the three months to end of October - which rose 3.6% - also surprised economists, but on the downside as the forecast had been for a 3.8% rise.

The September measure was revised to show a 4.1% increase from an original estimate of 4.0%.

NS said the sharp decline in wage growth was due to large financial-sector bonuses being paid in October 2004 which were not repeated this year.

Average earnings in the private sector rose by 3.5% in the three months toOctober, compared with 4.1% in September and 4.1% in October 2004.

(MORE TO FOLLOW) Dow Jones Newswires

December 14, 2005 04:52 ET (09:52 GMT)

The NS spokesman was unable to give any details on the timing of bonus payments, but did say that only a small number of firms paid bonuses in October.

The slowdown in the earnings rate will be good news for the Bank of England which is closely monitoring wage growth for any second-round effects of the recent oil-price-led inflation spike.

Earlier this week, NS published lower consumer price data for November, with CPI inflation falling to 2.1% from 2.3% in October.

However, while the earnings slowdown will be welcomed by the Monetary Policy Committee, it's unlikely to make any decision on the direction of the U.K. base rate until January when the first round of annual earnings increases becomes apparent.

The official measure of unemployment, formerly known as the International Labor Organization measure, in the three months to the end of October stood at 4.9%, up from 4.7% in the July-September period, NS said.

The number of unemployed people rose by 72,000 to 1.49 million from the previous three-month period.

The ILO employment rate, meanwhile, fell slightly to 74.7% in the three months to October from 74.8% in the previous three-month period, NS said. The number of unemployed people rose by 58,000 to 28.81 million.

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  • 301 Brexit, House prices and Summer 2020

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