UK unemployment rate at lowest since 2005

The UK unemployment rate has fallen to 5%, the lowest since October 2005, according to official figures.

The unemployment total fell to 1.67 million in the February-to-April period, down 20,000 from the previous quarter, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said.

The number of people in work rose by 55,000, with the employment rate remaining at a record high of 74.2%.

Earnings, excluding bonuses, rose by 2.3% compared with last year.

The rise was bigger than analysts had expected, and pay growth in April itself was 2.5%, which the ONS said was partly due to the introduction of the National Living Wage.

The introduction of the new, compulsory National Living Wage of £7.20 an hour for workers aged 25 and above affected 1.8 million workers.

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Economy, General