UK unemployment rate hits 44-year low

Unemployment rate heads below 4 per cent for the first time since 1975

The number of people in work rose by 222,000, thus pushing the rate of unemployment down to 3.9 percent, its lowest level since 1975.

Total earnings, including bonuses, rose by an annual 3.4 percent in the three months to January, the Office for National Statistics said, stronger than a median forecast of 3.2 percent in the Reuters poll.

Between November 2018 and January this year, ONS revealed based on its data, the United Kingdom stood at 76.1 percent in its employment rate. There were 35,000 fewer people out of work in the three months to January.

"These record-breaking jobs numbers seem extraordinary and suggest that only a recession-inducing hard Brexit is likely to have a noticeably negative impact on the UK's employment situation".

Unemployment fell by 35,000 to 1.34 million and the number of people in work rose by 222,000 - the fastest pace of hiring in more than three years and almost twice as strong as economists had expected.

Job vacancies have increased by 4,000 to 854,000.

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Meanwhile, the number of economically inactive people fell by 117,000 to 8.55 million, a rate of just under 21%, the lowest on record. Job-to-job flows in the fourth quarter of 2018 dipped off from the post-recession high in Q3, hinting that the average worker's confidence to change jobs to seek a higher wage took a hit.

Compared to the previous period ended in December 2018, the number of temporary employees also saw a slight increase of 0.2%.

The surprising resilience of the labour market and the subsequent rise in wage growth, plus a fall in inflation, are cushioning the Brexit uncertainty for many households, whose spending drives the economy. "By backing the government's Brexit deal and giving certainty to business, MPs have the chance to safeguard this jobs track record".

"Uncertainty is threatening to jeopardise this healthy position, with 4 out of 5 recruiters polled by the REC saying that no-deal would have a negative effect on the jobs market", Carberry said.

The Bank of England forecasts that Britain's economy will grow at its slowest rate in a decade this year.

"There was no sign in the labour market data of Brexit concerns at the start of the year as the data beat expectations in every regard", said Andrew Wishart, UK economist at Capital Economics. In explaining the robust figures, economists point to the flexibility of the British market, which makes it is easier and cheaper to hire workers to meet demand than to commit to extra business investment, which has been falling.

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