UK jobless total rises by 25,000
UK unemployment in the April to June period was 1.85 million, up 25,000 from the previous quarter.
The jobless total had also risen in the three months to May, and it is the first time in two years that there have been two consecutive rises. The Office for National Statistics (ONS) figures also indicated that earnings growth is slowing.
Earnings including bonuses rose 2.4% from a year ago, compared with 3.2% growth in the March to May period. Excluding bonuses, pay was up 2.8% in the April to June period, unchanged from the previous figure.
ONS statistician David Freeman said: "This is now the second consecutive time we've reported fewer people in work on the quarter. "While it's too early to conclude that the jobs market is levelling off, these figures certainly strengthen that possibility. Growth in pay, however, remains solid."
John Hawksworth, the PwC's chief economist, said even though employment had fallen back, regular pay and productivity were growing.
"Overall the picture is one of a continuing economic recovery, led by private sector services. But the balance of growth between jobs and productivity seems to be shifting, which could be good news if it makes the upturn more sustainable." While the growth in earnings still remains well above the rate of inflation, the weaker-than-expected pay figure pushed the value of the pound down.
Wage growth is one factor the Bank of England has been keeping a close eye on as it considers when to increase UK interest rates.
Chris Williamson, chief economist at Markit said "doves" on the Monetary Policy Committee may see the labour market data as confirmation that the economy has started to slow, but he puts it down to skill shortages. "Some of the weakening in the employment trend is simply due to companies being unable to find suitable staff as skill shortages become increasingly prevalent. Recruitment agencies continue to report a marked worsening of staff availability. Note also that the official data showed job vacancies rising in June to one of the highest on record, which his hardly a sign of weakening demand for staff."
The ONS figures showed there were 31.03 million people in work during the quarter, down 63,000 from the January to March period but up 354,000 from a year earlier. The employment rate - the proportion of people aged 16 to 64 in work - was 73.4%, up from 72.8% a year ago.