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Commodities Buzz: UK GDP Grows 1.7% In 2017

23 February 2018

The unemployment rate rose by 0.1 percentage points compared with the previous quarter to 4.4% in the three months to December 2017.

The unexpected downward revision came after the Office for National Statistics (ONS) concluded that output from the production industries was less than previously believed.

The total number of people in work came in at 32.15 million in the last quarter of a year ago, which is 88,000 more than the previous quarter and 321,000 more than October to December 2016.

Screen_Shot_2018 02 21_at_09_40_29
Here's the chart showing the small upward move in unemployment in the last three months:Office for National Statistics

United Kingdom economic growth was been revised down to 0.4 per cent for the final quarter of 2017 in the second estimate of national income produced by the Office for National Statistics.

In addition, ONS figures revealed a better-than-expected rise in wages - earnings rose by 2.5% year-on-year, excluding bonuses.

British government bond prices rose and sterling briefly fell against the USA dollar after Wednesday's figures showed the sharpest rise in the number of people out of work in nearly five years.

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Output per hour - the main measure of productivity - rose 0.8 percent in the three months to December from the previous three months, slightly slower than the third quarter's 0.9 percent rise.

This was driven by an increase in the number of British-born workers with a job, rather than by migration, the ONS said. And the increase in inflation has eaten into wages, reducing purchasing power.

The fact that there was a rise in unemployment at the same time as rising employment was explained by the fact that the number of economically inactive people - those not seeking or available to work - fell in the period.

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Chris Williamson, chief business economist at IHS Markit (Stuttgart: A1139A - news), said the figures contained "mixed message" for Bank of England rate-setters.

The wage rates are below the inflation rate of 3 percent, which is a full percentage point above the Bank's target.

There was a 0.1 per cent rise in sales over the past quarter, with purchases made via safe shopping online increasing by just nine per cent. In particular, fewer citizens from eastern European countries were in work than in the year before.

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The figures will be a blow to Theresa May's Government, who say the Tories are the only party that can be trusted with the economy'.

Commodities Buzz: UK GDP Grows 1.7% In 2017