British unemployment rate stable at 4.9%

"At the end of the day, it is the unemployment rate that counts but certainly we have seen employment numbers a bit softer", said David de Garis, an economist at National Australia Bank. The jobless rate was 4.9 per cent.

There was some good news in the seasonally adjusted data's detail, however, with an estimated 11,500 full-time positions added, while it was 15,400 part-time jobs that were lost.

Nick Palmer, ONS statistician, said: 'These figures show continued labour market improvement, with the employment rate remaining at a record high and inactivity at a new record low.

Experts at Capital Economics warned the Bank of England was still likely to cut interest rates to just 0.1 per cent in November - given fears the jobs market will soften.

Average annual weekly earnings growth is also expected to be little changed at 2.1 per cent in the three months to July, which would be mark a small drop from 2.2 per cent in the three months to June.

Overall employment fell 3,900 in August, the Australian Bureau of Statistics reported Thursday.

The ABS also revised its previous estimates of the state unemployment rate and the participation rate (the number of people in jobs or looking for work as a percentage of the total population aged 15 and over).

In considering the contribution of the Census to employment, the ABS confirmed that it will have resulted in an increase in hours that were worked during the month, more than the persons in employment.

"You wouldn't expect on these numbers, wage growth pushing back up anytime soon", said Ben Jarman, Sydney-based economist at JP Morgan.

"As predicted in our recent economic forecast, weaker employment alongside expected increases in inflation could trigger a broader economic slowdown by squeezing household spending - a major driver of United Kingdom economic growth".

There are 2.7 million more people in a job than in 2010, despite public sector employment tumbling by a million since the Tories came to power six years ago.

"The labour market continues to perform well".

Laura Gardiner, Senior Policy Analyst at the Resolution Foundation, said: 'Our first look at the post-Brexit vote labour market shows a similar picture to the one we had before the vote.

Excluding bonuses, earnings rose by 2.1 per cent year-on-year against expectations for a 2.2 per cent rise and slower than in the three months to June.

  • Jon Douglas