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UK unemployment rate remains at 45-year low; wage growth slows

The U.K. unemployment rate was 3.8% in the three months to October, below the 3.9% Econoday consensus estimate, but unchanged from the prior quarter, when it fell to the lowest level since early 1975, according to the Office for National Statistics.

The economic inactivity rate stood at 20.8%, 0.2 percentage point lower than a year earlier but largely unchanged quarter over quarter.

Employment rose 24,000 on quarter, following the steepest decline in employment in more than four years in the three months to September. Employment grew 309,000 year over year.

The employment rate edged up to 76.2%, 0.4 percentage point higher than a year earlier but little changed from the previous quarter.

Average weekly earnings, including bonuses, grew 3.2% year over year in the three months to October, compared to the 3.4% consensus growth rate and a 3.6% rate in the three months to September.

U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who last week won a big majority in the snap poll, does not plan to extend a Brexit transition period, renewing fears of a no-deal Brexit at the end of 2020.

James Smith, developed markets economist at ING Research, said the Bank of England's decision to cut rates in the first half of 2020 will depend on whether the labor market deteriorates further, with data showing some early signs of weakness, including declining vacancy levels in 2019.

The Bank of England's next rate decision is due Dec. 19.