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UK Jobs data moves the markets

British pay growth lagged inflation for the first time in two-and-a-half years in early 2017, underscoring the growing Brexit squeeze facing many households, official data showed this morning.

Excluding bonuses, earnings rose by 2.1 percent year-on-year, the weakest increase since July of last year and below expectations for a 2.2 percent rise in a poll of economist.

That meant pay, adjusted for inflation, fell by 0.2 percent in the first three months of the year, the first fall since the third quarter of 2014.

Britain’s opposition Labour Party has made weak wage growth one of its main themes ahead of a June 8 national election which opinion polls suggest Prime Minister Theresa May is on course to win.

The unemployment rate in the period between January and March unexpectedly fell to its lowest level in nearly 42 years at 4.6 percent. Economists polled had expected the rate to remain at 4.7 percent.

And the number of people in work rose by a strong 122,000, taking the employment rate to a new record of 74.8 percent, the Office for National Statistics said.

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