United Kingdom: Unemployment stable in the three months up to January
March 19, 2014
In February, jobless claims fell 34,600 over the previous month according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS). The print exceeded the revised 33,900 drop recorded in January (previously reported: -27,600) and overshot the 25,000 decrease in jobless claims the markets had expected. The unemployment rate-derived from a different survey-remained at 7.2% in the three months up to January, the same result tallied in the three months up to December. The figure was in line with market expectations. Due to the faster-than-expected fall in the unemployment rate in recent months, the Bank of England (BoE) abandoned its unemployment target of 7.0% that was necessary for considering raising the interest rate. The Bank is now focusing on other indicators of the labor market that could signal slack in the economy, such as participation in the labor market, extent of involuntary part-time workers and surveys of spare capacity within companies, among others. FocusEconomics Consensus Forecast panelists expect unemployment to average 7.0% in 2014, which is down 0.2 percentage points from last month's forecast. For 2015, the panel expects the unemployment rate to drop to 6.7%.