LONDON (SHARECAST) - The number of persons claiming unemployment insurance in the United Kingdom fell by 15,000 in August, according to the latest data out from the Office for National Statistics (ONS).
That when the consensus estimate had been for an unchanged reading.
The previous month's reading on the claimant count has been revised down to show a drop of 13,600, versus the initial estimate of -5,900.
The unemployment rate –which is calculated on the basis of the International Labour Organization’s (ILO’ s) methodology- fell to 8.1% of the economically active population (Consensus: 8.0%), down 0.1 percentage points on the quarter.
There were 2.59m unemployed people, down by 7,000 on the quarter.
The previous quarter’s reading –for April to July- was revised up to 8.1%.
Worth noting, the employment rate for those aged from 16 to 64 was 71.2%, up 0.5 percentage points on the quarter. There were 29.56m people in employment aged 16 and over, up 236,000 on the quarter.
The inactivity rate for those aged from 16 to 64 was 22.4%, down 0.5 percentage points on the quarter. There were 9.01m economically inactive people aged from 16 to 64, down 181,000 on the quarter.
Total pay (including bonuses) rose by 1.5% on a year earlier, down by 0.3 percentage points when compared to the three months to June 2012. Regular pay (excluding bonuses) rose by 1.9% on a year earlier (Consensus: 1.8%), up 0.1 percentage points on the three months to June.
Speaking to the British Broadcasting Corporation Employment Minister Mark Hoban spoke of a mixed report. Economists at Deutsche Bank however were quite upbeat describing it as "a very exceptionally strong report."
The reaction from economists at Barclays, on the other hand, was a tad more muted. As regards the drop in the claimant count they indicated: "Although the monthly claimant count data might suggest an improvement in the ILO measure is likely, we do not think economic fundamentals and low output per worker levels support this view."
As for wages, they added: "The broader picture on earnings remains unchanged, with growth subdued as high unemployment and low productivity limit scope for a more rapid increase in pay. With inflation still expected to be stronger-than-nominal earnings growth, we think the extended period if negative earnings growth is likely to continue this year."
Also worth mentioning, there was some market-chatter today regarding the lack of any dovish talk so far out of any members of the Bank of England.