UK unemployment falls to 7.4%

The number of people out of work in the UK fell by 99,000 in the three months to the end of October, bringing the country’s unemployment figure closer to the 7 per cent level that would trigger the Bank of England to reassess its case for ultra-low interest rates.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said the unemployment rate was 7.4 per cent at the end of October, the lowest level since 2009.

The Bank of England has stated that a 7 per cent unemployment rate would be a trigger for it to reassess the case for maintaining its central interest rate at 0.5 per cent. However, governor Mark Carney has sought to make clear that unemployment is not a definite signal for interest rate rises.

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Immediately following the ONS announcement, former BoE monetary policy committee member Andrew Sentance - now at PricewaterhouseCoopers - said the fall in unemployment was “accelerating” and “could well be down to 7 per cent by mid-2014”.

Elsewhere in the statistics, the ONS said one in 10 people aged over 65 were in employment, the highest figure since records began in 1992.