While the unemployment rate remained unchanged at 4.8%, for the first time in more than a year the amount of people in work actually fell, if admittedly by a meagre 6k. Wages, including bonuses, rose 2.5% for the 3 months to the end of October; growth that probably won’t be high enough to mitigate the continued rise in inflation set to leak into 2017.
Finally the number of people claiming unemployment-related benefits jumped by a less than expected 2.4k; however, the previous month’s reading was confirmed at 13.3k against the 9.8k previously stated, the 9th time since March that the figure has been revised higher and the worst increase since April. The markets were suitably unimpressed – the FTSE maintained the 20 point decline it saw shortly after the bell, while the pound dipped 0.1% against the dollar and 0.2% against the euro.
Looking ahead to this afternoon and the US sessions seems set to be dominated by pre-Fed jitters, with the Dow Jones futures suggesting a fairly flat, if still 19900-eyeing, open when the bell rings on Wall Street. There is, at least, a decent selection of data for the US indices to preoccupy themselves with ahead of the statement from Janet Yellen and co. Retail sales, covering the key Black Friday/Cyber Monday period, are expected to fall from 0.8% to 0.3% month-on-month, while the industrial production and capacity utilization rate readings are expected to slip to -0.2% and 75.1% respectively.