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Jobs Surge Points to Stronger UK Economy

Jobs Surge Points to Stronger UK Economy

British employers hired many more workers than expected in early 2018, a tentative sign that the economy's weak start to the year may be temporary, as the Bank of England hopes.

Despite the slowest growth in more than five years, the Office for National Statistics said there were 32.34 million people in work in the first quarter of the year, an increase of 197,000 on the previous quarter and up by 396,000 on the first three months of 2017.

The UK's employment rate increased by 0.4 points to 75.6 percent in the latest quarter, the highest since modern records began in 1971. A majority of jobs created were full-time posts.

City economists said the strong labour market increased the chances of growth being revised up from the ONS's initial estimate of just 0.1 percent in the the first quarter of 2018 – its weakest since 2012.

Annual growth in earnings, excluding bonuses, edged up to 2.9 percent in the three months to March. Including bonuses, total pay growth cooled to 2.6 percent from 2.8 percent in the three months to February.

Last week the BoE left interest rates on hold, saying it wanted to be sure the economy was rebounding after barely growing in the first quarter. In February it had said rates were likely to go up more quickly than it previously thought.

Economists said the strength of hiring in Tuesday's figures suggested Britain's economy did not have such a bad start to 2018 as portrayed by the preliminary official data.

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