LONDON (Reuters) – Britain’s labour market showed unexpected strength in the second quarter, in sharp contrast with figures last week that showed the economy contracted over the same period as the country gears up for Brexit.
FILE PHOTO: A pedestrian walks past an employment centre in London August 17, 2011. REUTERS/Suzanne Plunkett//File Photo
Total earnings growth including bonuses rose by an annual 3.7% in the three months to June – the highest rate since June 2008 and up from 3.5% in May, and in line with forecasts in a Reuters poll of economists.
The jobs market has been a silver lining for the economy since the Brexit vote in June 2016, something many economists have attributed to employers preferring to hire workers they can later lay off rather than making longer-term commitments to investment.
Tuesday’s figures showed Britain created 115,000 jobs in the second quarter, bringing the level of employment to a record 32.811 million, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said.
“The jobs market remains a source of strength for the UK economy, though it may now be reaching its peak,” said Tej Parikh, chief economist at the Institute of Directors.
Sterling showed little reaction to the data, which tend to lag broader trends in the economy and had also appeared healthy in the lead-up to the financial crisis.