Job market hits record high in Britain

AFP . London | Update:

Britain's unemployment rate has struck the lowest level for more than 41 years, official data showed on Wednesday as the country prepares to trigger its exit from the EU.

However a drop in the jobless rate comes alongside news of slowing wages growth.

Unemployment for the quarter ending January 31 fell to 4.7 per cent from a rate of 4.8 per cent in the final three months of 2016, the Office for National Statistics said in a statement.

"The unemployment rate dropped to 4.7 per cent in the three months to January 2017... It has not been lower since June to August 1975," the ONS said.

Analysts' consensus forecast had been for an unchanged rate of 4.8 per cent, which would have kept unemployment at an 11-year low point.

"The labour market is currently seeing decent improvement, reflecting the economy's resilience through the second half of 2016," Howard Archer, chief UK economist at IHS Markit, said in reaction to Wednesday's data.

"However, markedly slowing earnings growth reinforces the squeeze on consumers coming from rising inflation - and this is likely to increasingly weigh down increasingly on economic activity."

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