UK Unemployment Rate Falls To 7.2% In Last Quarter Of 2013

The unemployment rate in the UK for the period between October 2013 and December 2013, or the last quarter of 2013, stood at 7.2 percent, down 0.4 percentage points from the previous quarter, official data showed Wednesday. However, the number showed an uptick over a reading of 7.1 percent in the three-month period ending November 2013.

There were 2.34 million unemployed people in the quarter ended December 2013, down 125,000 from the previous quarter, according to data from the Office for National Statistics, or ONS.

The data also showed that the employment rate for those aged between 16 and 64 in the last quarter of 2013 was 72.1 percent, up 0.3 percentage points compared to the previous quarter. Overall, 30.15 million people above the age of 16 had jobs in the last quarter, up 193,000 from the quarter ended September 2013.

Total wages rose in the December quarter by 1.1 percent compared to the same period a year ago, data showed.

According to ONS, inactivity rate among those between the ages of 16 and 64 in the December quarter stood at 22.1 percent, the same level seen in the previous quarter. However, the actual number of inactive people in this age group dropped by 8,000 to 8.93 million in the same period.

Minutes of the Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee meeting from Feb. 5-6, which also were released Wednesday, showed that the MPC voted unanimously to maintain its current policy approach and the Bank Rate at 0.5 percent.

“With unemployment remaining above the 7% threshold, the Committee’s policy guidance therefore remained in place and no member thought it appropriate to tighten, or to loosen, the stance of monetary policy at the current juncture,” the minutes said.