Norway Jobless Rate Rises 0.1% in December

Ann Santiago
February 22, 2018

Some 1.47 million people were out of work in the three months to December, an increase of 46,000.

The number of non-UK nationals from outside the European Union working in this country fell by 68,000 to 1.17 million in the quarter to last December compared with the previous year. "This change is within the LFS error margin".

"Rising unemployment is disappointing, but job vacancies reaching another record shows that businesses are creating opportunities".

"However, while pay growth appears to be perking up, there are other signs that the labour market is starting to cool", he said, with the unemployment rate rising and the number of unemployed rising for a third successive month, though this was linked to fewer people seeking employment, rather than redundancies. They may also fuel speculation that the Bank of England could raise interest rates again as early as May after policy makers said the Brexit vote had lowered the pace the economy can grow without fanning inflation.

The number of people classed as economically inactive, including students, those on long-term sick leave, taken early retirement or who have given up looking for work, fell by 109,000 to 8.7 million, giving a rate of 21%.

In January, the claimant count rate fell to 2.3% from 2.4% in December.

Excluding bonuses, earnings rose by 2.5 percent year on year against expectations for a 2.4 percent rise.

Wage growth has remained floored by inflation and will potentially dampen the prospect of another interest rate rise in May, critics have suggested.

The figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) sent the pound a cent lower against the USA dollar to just over $1.39.

Rising employment in 2017 was driven by United Kingdom nationals, the ONS said.

"While stubbornly high inflation and signs of higher wage growth have increased the perceived likelihood of rates rising again, it's clear that policymakers will tread a cautious line amid the heightened uncertainty facing the United Kingdom economy as Brexit worries dominate", said IHS Markit economist, Chris Williamson.

Chris Williamson, chief business economist at IHS Markit, said the labour market update contained "mixed messages" for Bank of England rate-setters.

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