United Kingdom: Unemployment inches up
February 19, 2014
In January, jobless claims fell 27,600 over the previous month according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS). The print was slightly below the revised 27,700 drop recorded in December (previously reported: -24,000) and overshot the 20,000 decrease in jobless claims the markets had expected.
The unemployment rate - derived from a different survey - inched up from 7.1% in the three months up to December to 7.2% in the three months up to January. The figure came as a surprise to the market, which had expected the rate to stay stable at 7.1%. As a result, the unemployment rate moved away from the 7.0% threshold that the Bank of England (BOE) introduced at its 7 August monetary policy meeting in which it committed to keeping interest rates on hold until unemployment fell below the threshold.
FocusEconomics Consensus Forecast panelists expect unemployment to average 7.3% in 2014, which is down 0.1 percentage points from last month's forecast. For 2015, the panel expects the unemployment rate to drop to 7.0%.
Author: Dirina Mançellari, Senior Economist