LONDON, (Pakistan Point News - APP - 17th August, 2016) - Britain witnessed a surprise drop in claims for unemployment benefits in July, the immediate aftermath of the country's vote in favour of exiting the European Union, official data showed Wednesday. In the run-up to the June 23 Brexit referendum, Britain's unemployment rate was meanwhile unchanged at 4.9 percent -- but analysts expect it to rise in the coming months despite the drop in benefits, or claimant count.
"Although the claimant count will be taken as a positive indicator of the UK economy post-referendum, the indications from the single month data suggest the unemployment may have troughed at 4.9 percent," said HSBC analyst Elizabeth Martins. "Surveys point to, at the very least, a freeze in hiring for now. Any labour market weakening may take time to show through in the claimant count, if a former employee worked out their notice, for example, or delayed signing up to received unemployment benefits," she added.
The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said Britain's unemployment rate was unchanged at 4.9 percent in the three months to June. The quarterly reading -- a low for 11 years -- matched the figure for the three months to the end of May. A total of 1.64 million people were officially unemployed in the reporting period, down 207,000 compared with one year earlier.