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Economists react to the latest UK labour market figures

Posted: 15/02/17 by PwC LLP

Economists at PwC have given their reaction to the publication of the latest UK labour market figures.

In response to today’s UK labour market figures, John Hawksworth, chief economist at PwC, commented: “UK employment continued to rise in the fourth quarter of 2016, increasing by 37,000 relative to the third quarter, while unemployment remained broadly unchanged. The pace of jobs growth has cooled when you compare this to the average quarterly rate of increase of around 88,000 during the first three quarters of 2016. This suggests that businesses have become a bit more cautious about hiring since the Brexit vote, although not enough yet to push up the unemployment rate.

“Average earnings growth, which had been edging up in recent months, eased back slightly to 2.6% in the fourth quarter. With wage growth relatively subdued and consumer price inflation now up to 1.8% and set to rise further towards 3% by the end of 2017, the healthy real earnings growth we saw in 2015 and most of 2016 could soon be a thing of the past.

“This is likely to take the edge off consumer spending growth later this year and into 2018, which has been the main source of resilience in the UK economy since the Brexit vote.”

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