Britain’s unemployment rate nudged upwards in the three months to June, while the number of people claiming jobless benefits rose at the fastest monthly rate since May 2009 when the nation was still mired in recession. According to the Office for National Statistics, the UK unemployment rate rose to 7.9 per cent in the three months to the end of June, from 7.8 per cent in the January to March period. A total of 2.49m people were out of work during the period. The number of those claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance rose by 37,100, much more than the roughly 20,000 rise economists had expected. The number of women claiming this benefit rose to its highest level since April 1996, a trend that economists believe reflects the reduction in public sector jobs where women are more likely to find work.
UK annual inflationrose slightly to 4.4 per cent in July, as higher prices of clothes, shoes, bank fees and rent pushed up the cost of living slightly compared with the same month last year. Prices have been fairly stable for the past three months, however, and did not change in July compared with June.
British factory output unexpectedly fell in June, official data showed on Tuesday. The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said manufacturing output – which does not include utilities or oil and gas extraction– fell by 0.4 per cent in June after a rise of 1.8 per cent in May and versus forecasts for a 0.2 per cent rise.