UK unemployment falls to its lowest for a decade

The UK unemployment rate has fallen to below 5%, its lowest level since 2005, official figures show.

The figures were taken just before the UK’s decision to leave the EU, and some economists are warning that unemployment will inevitably rise as the effects of Brexit begin to materialise.

“We expect the unemployment rate to begin to drift up over the coming quarters. The upshot is that these may be the best set of labour market figures for a while,” said Paul Hollingsworth, UK Economist at Capital Economics [1].

Chancellor Philip Hammond welcomed today’s figures. “While the decision to leave the European Union marks the beginning of a new phase for our economy, the message we take to the world is this: our country remains open for business and we are the same outward-looking, globally-minded, big-thinking country we have always been,” he said [2].

The news also saw sterling rise 0.5% to $1.31, while the FTSE 100 was up 20 points at 6718 by midday, and the FTSE 250 was up around 100 points to cross 17,000.

[1] BBC – UK unemployment rate falls to fresh 11-year low

[2] Bloomberg – U.K. Unemployment Falls Below 5% for First Time Since 2005