UK Jobless Claims Fall At Their Fastest Pace In 3 Years

LONDON (Reuters) – The number of Britons claiming unemployment benefit fell for an eighth consecutive month in June and at its fastest rate for three years in the latest sign that Britain’s economic recovery is gaining momentum.

The Office for National Statistics said the number of people claiming jobless benefit fell by 21,200 last month. Economists had expected a drop of just 8,000.

A large favourable revision to the prior month added to the robust picture.

Britain’s central bank has refrained from injecting fresh stimulus into the economy in the form of quantitative easing this year and focused its efforts on initiatives to boost lending to households and businesses.

The number of people without a job on the wider and lagging ILO measure dropped by 57,000 in the three months to May to 2.5 million.

The ILO jobless rate held steady 7.8 per cent, as expected.

One way employers have been able to keep staff is by limiting pay rises.

Average weekly earnings growth including bonuses picked up slightly to 1.7 per cent in the three months through May compared to a year earlier, still well below inflation. Excluding bonuses, pay grew by just 1.0 per cent.

(Reporting by Christina Fincher and Christine Murray)

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