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UK Employment At Record; Jobless Rate Lowest Since Early 1975

UK employment level climbed to a record high in the three months to January, while the jobless rate eased to its lowest level since the mid-1970s, preliminary data from the Office for National Statistics showed on Tuesday.

Employment grew by 222,000 persons to a record 32.71 million in the three months to January. Economists had forecast an increase of 120,000.

This was the largest rolling quarter-increase since the period September to November 2015, the ONS said. This is in contrast with the recent weakness in gross domestic product growth, especially given that real wages growth rates have been rising, the agency added.

The employment rate of 76.1 percent was the highest since the series began in 1971.

The unemployment rate eased to 3.9 percent. The rate has not been lowest since the three months to January 1975, the ONS said. Economists had expected the figure to remain unchanged at 4 percent.

The inactivity rate hit a record low 20.7 percent in the quarter to January.

Average weekly earnings excluding bonuses grew 3.4 percent annually in the three months to January, which was slower than the revised 3.5 percent in the three months to December. Economists had expected the rate to remain unchanged at December's original 3.4 percent.

Pay including bonuses rose 3.4 percent annually, same as in December. Economists had expected the pace of increase to slow to 3.2 percent.

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