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UK Jobless Remains At 7-year Low; Wage Growth Tops Forecast

U.K. unemployment held steady at its lowest level in nearly seven years during the three months to April, while pay growth was the strongest in four years, exceeding economists' forecast, figures from the Office for National Statistics showed Wednesday.

The ILO jobless rate for the February to April period was 5.5 percent, which was down from 5.7 percent logged for the three months to January. It was also lower than the 6.6 percent recorded in the same period last year.

The unemployment rate was in line with economists' expectations and was the lowest since April-June 2008, when the figure was 5.4 percent.

The number of unemployed declined by 43,000 from the previous three months to 1.81 million, the lowest since the June to August period of 2008.

Average earnings including bonuses grew 2.7 percent year-on-year during the three months to April. Economists had forecast 2.1 percent growth. The latest increase was the highest since June to August 2011, when pay grew 2.7 percent.

Excluding bonuses, the pay grew 2.7 percent in the three months to April, the highest since December to February 2009.

The number of Britons claiming jobless benefits in May declined by 6,500 persons from the previous month to 791,800 people. The claimant count decrease was much less than the 13,800 fall that economists' predicted and the smallest monthly decline since February 2013. The claimant count rate was 2.3 percent in May.

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