The employment numbers continue to be surprisingly strong, with a rise of 154,000 to 29.73 million in the October-December 2012 period, and a huge 584,000 increase over 12 months. Interestingly, the rise in employment was more than accounted for by an increase in full-time employment of 197,000 in the latest three months, with part-time employment down 43,000.
Unemployment, however, is stuck at around 2.5 million, and slipped by only 14,000 in the latest three months. Reducing unemployment at a time of strong workforce growth is a challenge. However, there was an encouraging 23,000 fall in the claimant count, to 1.54 million, in January.
Pay continues to be weak, up just 1.4% over the past year. More here.
Also today, three members of the Bank of England's monetary policy committee - Sir Mervyn King, Paul Fisher and David Miles - voted to increase quantitative easing by £25 billion. This was a surprise. More here.