Dec. 13, 2017, 10:20 a.m.
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Britain shed jobs at the fastest pace in almost two and a half years between August and October in a sign that the labour market is slowing.
The number of people in work fell by 56,000, the most since the period through May 2015, the Office for National Statistics said on Wednesday. The decline exceeded the median forecast of economists.
Unemployment also fell, leaving the jobless rate at a 42-year low of 4.3 per cent. That’s because people left the labour force. A falling participation rate may be sign of weaker jobs demand, according to Bloomberg Economics.
Basic wages rose 2.3 per cent in the latest period, the highest since January. Pay growth still lagged well behind an inflation rate that averaged 3 per cent, meaning a fall in real terms. Pay including bonuses rose 2.5 per cent, the fastest rate this year.
For Bank of England officials, the debate centres on the amount of slack remaining in the labour market. The number of people classified as inactive rose by 115,000 between August and October.
Officials raised interest rates for the first time in more than a decade last month, saying supply constraints could fuel inflation, but questions remain about how the labour market will fare in the face of Brexit uncertainty and the prospects of slowing economic growth. Markets expect no further rate increases until late 2018.
– Bloomberg