Labour market strengthens

The UK unemployment rate has fallen to 4.9%, the lowest since July 2005, according to official figures.

The unemployment total fell to 1.65 million in the March-to-May period, down 54,000 from the previous quarter, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said.

The number of people in work rose by 176,000, with the employment rate remaining at a record high of 74.4%.

Read more via the BBC here.

The British Chambers of Commerce commented:

“The fall in the unemployment rate shows that the UK’s labour market continues to be a bright spot for the UK economy. The rise in employment echoes our own survey data and shows that, before the EU referendum, businesses were confident enough to hire and grow despite the softening economic environment.

“Now that the UK has voted to leave the EU, businesses face new uncertainty in the transition to new economic and political arrangements. And not only from the vote, but also from how the apprenticeship levy and National Living Wage are implemented.

“The government should guarantee that EU workers can stay in British firms following the referendum. To maintain business confidence, the government must provide clarity and stability, and press ahead with key infrastructure projects that will boost trade and productivity, empowering businesses to continue to grow and thrive.”