United Kingdom wage growth stirs into life as unemployment rises

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Despite the increase - the first jobless jump since the summer of 2016 - the number of people in work increased by 88,000 to 32.1 million.

Norway jobless rate rose 0.1 percent to 4.1 percent in December from September after adjusted for seasonal variations, its statistics department release revealed.

Maike Currie, investment director for personal investing at Fidelity International, said with the Bank of England increasingly pinning the chances of further interest rate hikes on accelerating pay growth (alongside Brexit progress), the prospect of an early rate rise seems "unlikely".

The ONS said workers' total earnings, including bonuses, rose by an annual 2.5 percent in the three months to December, as expected and unchanged from the three months to November.

The number of workers on zero-hours contracts in their main job fell by 4,000 to 901,000 in the quarter to last December compared with the previous year.

"Meanwhile, inflation remains stubbornly high, with last week's CPI figure showing inflation stuck at 3%".

Wednesday's data marks the first time since August 2016 that the UK's headline rate of unemployment has climbed.

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Unemployment has risen in the East of England. In particular, fewer citizens from eastern European countries were in work than in the year before. "These figures simply look at the number of people in work and aren't a measure of migration".

The government recorded a January budget surplus of 10 billion pounds, slightly above forecasts, helped by strong income tax receipts which typically jump in that month.

There were 1.47 million unemployed Brits in the final quarter of 2017, an increase of 46,000 from July to September previous year.

But TUC general secretary Frances O'Grady said the continued squeeze on real terms pay was "pushing families to the brink".

The squeeze on United Kingdom households continues with a lethal cocktail of rising prices, paltry pay growth and record low interest rates.

John Hawksworth, chief economist at PwC, said the unexpected rise "is not a sign of labour market weakness" because there was a "healthy rise in total employment".

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