Wednesday, March 18, 2009
Unemployment soars, Bank unanimous
Posted by David Smith at 10:30 AM
Category: Thoughts and responses

The Labour Force Survey measure of unemployment rose above 2m, as expected, rising by 165,000 in the latest three months (to January) to 2.029m, 6.5% of the workforce. The rise was unwelcome but in line with expectations. The really eyecatching number this morning, however, was the record 138,000 increase in the claimant count to 1.39m, 4.3% of the workforce. Together with upward revisions to earlier data, this gave a 595,600 jobless rise over the past 12 months. And earnings growth, including bonuses, dropped to just 1.8%. Details here.

The figures justify the Bank of England's decision to throw the kitchen sink at trying to boost the economy. Today's minutes of the monetary policy committee's March meeting reveal a unanimous vote in favour of cutting Bank rate to 0.5% and also how the Bank got to its initial 75 billion figure for asset purchases under the quantitative easing programme, also decided unanimously. The minutes are here.