United Kingdom unemployment stays at lowest since 1975

The number of redundancies fell to 89,000 in the three-month period, the lowest since this set of records began in 1995, while the number of vacancies held steady at 770,000 - a fall of 8,000 on the month but a rise of 9,000 on the quarter.

The inflation rate in Britain has risen to its highest level in four years, as the drop in the pound since the Brexit vote pushes up the cost of living.

In its monthly release of labour market data, the statistical authority confirmed that while wages grew by 2.1% including bonuses and 1.7% excluding bonuses, average earnings adjusted for inflation actually fell by 0.4% including bonuses, and 0.6% excluding them.

That employment rate is the joint highest since comparable records began in 1971, the ONS said.

Regular pay increased by only 1.7 per cent in February to April this year compared to the same period last year, the weakest rate of growth since January 2015, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), while pay including bonuses rose by 2.1 per cent.

The squeeze on United Kingdom households intensified in the three months through April as wage growth lagged further behind inflation.

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That marked the biggest real-terms drop since the three months to September 2014, potentially adding to speculation that the government might loosen its grip on public spending to help steer Britain's economy away from a slowdown.

Real wages are falling at the fastest pace for three years as the pressure of rapidly rising prices threatens to squeeze Britons' ability to keep up the spending which has fuelled recent resilient economic growth. "Unless the government gets its act together, we'll soon be in the middle of another cost of living crisis", she said. And it's time to bin the artificial pay restrictions on nurses, midwives and other public sector workers.

"Households are being squeezed from both directions, with inflation rising faster than expected and wages rising more slowly".

It was much weaker than the 2% growth in pay that had been expected by economists.

"Meanwhile, the fact that the unemployment rate remained at its joint-lowest rate since July 1975 of 4.6 per cent suggests that nominal wage growth will eventually start to rise".

"The sharp contrast between our awful record on pay and strong jobs performance shows that the currency-driven inflation we are experiencing is not feeding through into wage pressures and is simply making us all poorer instead".

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Neil Carberry, director of employment and skills for the CBI business lobby group, said the government must focus on the economy.

"The UK economy faces a risky cocktail of political uncertainty, slowing growth and shrinking real wages".

"Politicians need to put the economy front and centre, create stability and ensure the European Union negotiations get off to a positive start".

He added: "In the longer term, we must fix the foundations of our economy by improving productivity growth through meaningful progress on a modern industrial strategy, with real change on the ground in skills, infrastructure and innovation".

Secretary of state for work and pensions, David Gauke welcomed the figures which show employment has hit 74.8%, with 31.95m now in work.

Local government employment has fallen for the 14th consecutive quarter to reach 2.123m.

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