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Jobs market weakens again after surprise rise in unemployment rate



Britain’s unemployment rate has unexpectedly risen to its highest rate since the summer of 2021 as the jobs market weakens further, although wage growth remains resilient, according to official figures.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said the rate of UK unemployment lifted to 4.4% in the three months to April, up from 4.3% in the three months to March.

The latest increase defied expectations for the jobless rate to remain unchanged and sees it reach the highest level since July to September 2021.

Vacancies also dropped sharply once again, down 12,000 to 904,000 in the three months to May, marking the 23rd fall in a row.

But the figures showed regular earnings growth remained unchanged at 6% in the three months to April and continued to outstrip price rises – up 2.9% when taking Consumer Prices Index (CPI) inflation into account, which is the highest since the three months to August 2021.

The ONS said: “This month’s figures continue to show signs that the labour market may be cooling, with the number of vacancies still falling and unemployment rising, though earnings growth remains relatively strong.”

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