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UK Unemployment falls

UK unemployment fell to its lowest level in six years in the three months to July, according to the latest figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

The number of unemployed in the UK has now fallen by 146,000 to 2.02 million, with an unemployment rate of 6.2%, the lowest since the three months to November 2008.

The annual fall in unemployment amounted to 468,000, the largest annual fall in over two decades.

The official figures also showed that the number of people claiming Jobseeker's Allowance in August fell by 37,200 to 966,500.

However, wages have only risen by 0.6% in the three months to July, showing the recovery is not as robust as the employment figures suggest.

Although stronger employment numbers put further pressure on the Bank of England to raise interest rates, meagre wage growth remains an obstacle for an imminent hike.

Ben Brettell, senior economist at Hargreaves Lansdown, said: "The lack of wage growth is the thorn in the side of an otherwise fairly robust recovery.

"[It] does, however, make the Bank of England's job easier. In the absence of inflationary pressures, leaving rates on hold is a fairly straightforward decision, and it is no surprise that MPC members McCafferty and Weale remain alone in calling for an increase to 0.75%.

"With CPI inflation at a five-year low, and set to remain significantly below target well into 2015, I still believe the first move will not come until after next year's election."