UK unemployment has edged up to 3.7 percent, official data showed on Tuesday.
The unemployment rate increased in the three months to the end of October from 3.6 percent in the three months to the end of September, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said in a statement.
At the same time sky-high inflation continues to squeeze wages, resulting in mass strike action across Britain.
Sam Beckett, ONS head of economic statistics, said “the number of working days lost rose again in October, to the highest monthly level in over 10 years”.
Reacting to the data and seemingly addressing strikers who are demanding big pay rises, finance minister Jeremy Hunt said that “any action that risks embedding high prices into our economy will only prolong the pain for everyone, and stunt any prospect of long-term economic growth”.
He added in a statement: “While unemployment in the UK remains close to historic lows, high inflation continues to plague economies around the world.”
UK annual inflation stands at more than 11 percent, the highest level in four decades, after energy bills and food prices have soared.
“With the (UK) economy likely already in recession, we expect unemployment to start trending upwards from the first half of next year,” noted Yael Selfin, chief economist at KPMG UK.
“Our forecast sees the unemployment rate reaching 5.6 percent by mid-2024, representing an increase of around 670,000 people.”