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Unemployment rate falls to 4.4%

Unemployment fell to 4.4% in the 3 months to June 2017 – down from 4.9% to its lowest rate since 1975.

Figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show unemployment fell by 57,000 between April and June 2017, while 338,000 more people were in employment than the same period last year.

However, with inflation remaining at 2.6%, real wage earnings fell by 0.5% (including any bonuses).

Average weekly earnings for employees in nominal terms increased by 2.1% compared to a year ago.

Productivity was 0.1% lower than in Q1 2017, with the ONS saying it remains “around the same level as its pre-downtown peak”.

Matthew Percival, head of employment at the Confederation of British Industry, said:

“Continuing strong employment growth is tainted by falling real wages, reducing household spending power.

“Productivity has been falling throughout 2017 – this matters as rising productivity is the only sustainable route to higher wages and better living standards.

“It’s therefore incumbent upon the government to work with businesses to protect the flexible labour market and design an industrial strategy that will drive productivity and wage growth.”

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