United Kingdom jobless up for first time since Brexit vote aftermath

Unemployment rises at sharpest rate for nearly five years

The total 16-plus United Kingdom employment rate rose again to 75.2 per cent, still close to a record high. Versus the euro, the pound was down 0.2 per cent at 1.29.

Currently, wages are growing about 2.5 percent on average against price increases of about 3 percent.

The Office of National Statistics (ONS) reported the number of people in work in Scotland fell by 20,000 to stand at 2.63m, with the employment rate falling from to 75.2 to 74.3 per cent.

Services - the biggest part of the United Kingdom economy - grew 0.6 per cent in the fourth quarter, though downward revisions to components including distribution, hotels and restaurants contributed to the revision in headline GDP.

Annual growth between the final quarter of 2016 and the final quarter of 2017 was just 1.4 per cent, lower than any member of the G7 except Canada, which is yet to release its estimate.

The ONS reports there were 901,000 people in employment on zero hours contracts as their main job. Businesses, too, have taken a more cautious approach on investment as they seek clarity over the post-Brexit economic landscape.

Sterling remained under pressure following the update, slipping 0.2% against the USA dollar at 1.38.

John Hawksworth, chief economist at PwC, said the unexpected rise "is not a sign of labour market weakness" because there was a "healthy rise in total employment". What's more, high inflationary levels have continued to place pressure upon household incomes in recent months.

"This factor continued to dampen consumer spending growth in the second half of 2017, but was offset by a stronger world economy, which boosted United Kingdom exports in areas like manufacturing and financial and business services".

UK's economy has recorded past year a total growth of 1.7 percent, a littler lower than expected.

Unemployment in Britain has risen for the first time since the aftermath of the country's June 2016 vote to leave the European Union, official figures showed Wednesday, a development that could alter market expectations of another interest rate increase from the Bank of England in May.

Maike Currie, investment director for personal investing at Fidelity International, said with the Bank of England increasingly pinning the chances of further interest rate hikes on accelerating pay growth (alongside Brexit progress), the prospect of an early rate rise seems "unlikely".

Sterling was essentially flat against the dollar in the wake of the data at $1.3896.



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