The unemployment rate has fallen to its lowest level in nearly a decade but wage growth has slowed sharply, suggesting that the Bank of England is likely to keep interest rates down well into next year.
There were 1.71 million people aged 16 and over who were unemployed in the three months to October, 110,000 fewer than for July to September and 244,000 fewer than a year ago, according to the Office for National Statistics.
This cut the unemployment rate to 5.2 per cent, down from 5.3 per cent in the previous three months and the lowest level since the start of 2006.
The European Union’s average unemployment rate is 9.3 per cent, with Greece and Spain highest at 24.6 per cent and 21.6 per cent respectively.
In Britain there were 31.3 million people in work in the three months to October, 207,000 more than for July to September and 505,000 more than a year earlier. The employment rate was 73.9 per cent, the highest level since comparable records began in 1971.
Average earnings grew at the slowest pace since near the start of the year, falling behind economists’ expectations. Pay rose by 2.4 per cent including bonuses, against the 3 per cent rise reported in September. Excluding bonuses, it was up by 2.1 per cent.