UK unemployment at lowest since mid-2008

UK unemployment at lowest since mid-2008

Unemployment has fallen to 5.5 per cent - the lowest since mid-2008 - giving the new Conservative government an early piece of good news.

The data from the Office for National Statistics said for the period of January to March, 73.5 per cent of people aged from 16 to 64 were in work, up from 72.5 per cent for a year earlier.

The unemployment rate for January to March 2015 was 5.5 per cent, down from 6.8 per cent for a year earlier.

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The ONS said the changes “continue the general direction of movement since late 2011 to early 2012”.

This came as the average weekly wages, excluding bonuses, improved by 2.2 per cent.

Economists polled by Bloomberg had been expecting average weekly wages in the three months through March - excluding bonuses - to improve by 2.1 per cent, from 1.8 per cent previously, according to the Financial Times.

Including bonuses, weekly wages rose by 1.9 per cent from 1.7 per cent previously. This compared to expectations that growth would hold steady at 1.7 per cent.

The data comes as the governor of the Bank of England Mark Carney will be discussing the findings of the latest inflation report later this morning.