UK Unemployment Rate Stabilized in Quarter to November as Wage Growth Intensified

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By Xavier Fontdegloria

The U.K.’s unemployment rate steadied in the three months to November and wage growth continued to accelerate, a sign the labor market remained tight despite softening demand for labor.

The U.K.’s unemployment rate was unchanged at 3.7% in the three months to November compared with the preceding three-month period, data from the Office for National Statistics showed Tuesday. Economists polled by The Wall Street Journal expected the jobless rate to increase to 3.8%.

Labor demand showed further signs of cooling. Job vacancies continued to decline in the three months to December, adding to evidence that weak economic activity is weighing on demand for workers. Still, vacancies remained well above their prepandemic levels.

Further signs of softness came from the most recent estimate of payrolled employees, which increased by 28,000 people in December, less than the 70,000 gain registered in November. Meanwhile, jobless claimants also rose by 19,700.

However, softer demand for workers has yet to feed through wages as pay growth accelerated further in the three months to November. Average weekly earnings excluding bonuses increased 6.4% on year, more than the 6.1% registered from August to October and the strongest growth rate seen outside of the coronavirus pandemic period. Adjusted for inflation, wages fell by 2.6%.

Write to Xavier Fontdegloria at xavier.fontdegloria@wsj.com



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