Fall in UK jobless claims fall after Brexit vote


LONDON : The number of people claiming unemployment benefit in Britain unexpectedly in July, the immediate aftermath of the country’s vote in favour of exiting the European Union, official data showed on Wednesday.

According the Office for National Statistics,unemployment claimants fell by 8,600 in the month, compared with an increase of 900 in June. Consensus forecasts pointed to a rise of 9,500. Meanwhile, the number of vacancies in the three-month period to the end of July fell by 7,000 from the three months to the end of April to 741,000.

In the run-up to the June 23 Brexit referendum, Britain’s unemployment rate was meanwhile unchanged at 4.9 percent but analysts expect it to rise in the coming months despite the drop in benefits or claimant count. “Although the claimant count will be taken as a positive indicator of the UK economy post-referendum, the indications from the single month data suggest the unemployment may have troughed at 4.9 percent,” said HSBC analyst Elizabeth Martins.

Any labour market weakening may take time to show through in the claimant count if a former employee worked out their notice, for example, or delayed signing up to received unemployment benefits,” she added.

The Office for National Statistics said Britain’s unemployment rate was unchanged at 4.9 percent in the three months to June. The quarterly reading a low for 11 years matched the figure for the three months to the end of May. A total of 1.64 million people were officially unemployed in the reporting period, down 207,000 compared with one year earlier.

The ONS added the claimant count dropped by 8,600 in July, confounding expectations of a rise of around 9,000. “In the first official indication of post-referendum labour market conditions, the claimant count measure of unemployment actually fell by a monthly 8,600 in July, the first drop in five months, suggesting that the vote to leave was yet to have a major impact on the jobs market,” noted Scott Bowman, an economist at Capital Economics research group.

Source : AFP


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