U.K. jobless rate rose slightly in three months to February as pay growth stalled

The U.K.’s jobless rate ticked up in the three months to February, albeit remaining at relatively low levels, while pay growth held steady, reflecting a labor market slightly cooling amid pressures on the economy.

The U.K. unemployment rate stood at 3.8% in the December-February period, slightly higher than the 3.7% rate recorded in the three months to January, according to data from the Office for National Statistics released Tuesday.

The reading matches economists’ expectations in a poll by The Wall Street Journal.

The U.K.’s unemployment rate still remains close to the 3.5% recorded in the three months to August, which marked the lowest level since 1974.

Vacancies fell by 47,000 in the three months to March compared with the prior quarter, evidence of slack in labor demand, although at a total of 1.11 million, they remain at a high number by historical standards.

The most recent estimate of payrolled employees rose by 31,000 people in March compared with February.

Average weekly earnings excluding bonuses increased 6.6% on year in the three months to February, matching the upwardly revised rise in the preceding quarter, suggesting inflation pressures on wages remain strong.

Write to Ed Frankl at edward.frankl@wsj.com

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