|Share this article
The latest unemployment totals from London underscored how weak Britain’s economy remains.
The number of people without jobs continued to rise.
Using International Labour Organisation counting methods, the total was up by 15,000 at 2.52 million between January and March, compared with the previous three months.
Pay growth also sank to its lowest level in four years, which means wages are failing to keep pace with rising prices.
However there was a fall in the numbers claiming jobless benefits. They were down by 7,300 in April to 1.52 million.
Bank of England ray of hope
The figures were released an hour before the Bank of England published its Quarterly Inflation Report.
That contained a slightly improved outlook for inflation and growth for the first time since the financial crisis.
The bank said the economy was “likely to see a modest and
sustained recovery over the next three years”. That represented
a small upgrade from its assessment in February, when the bank
said the recovery was likely to be “slow but sustained”.
Annual inflation, currently running at 2.8 percent, is likely to fall back to around the bank’s 2.0 percent target in two years’ time. That was lower than a forecast of 2.3 percent the Bank of England issued in February.
Bank of England Governor Mervyn King said the better forecasts did not mean the recovery was secure.
“Today’s projections are for growth to be a little stronger and inflation a little weaker than we expected three months ago. That’s the first time I’ve been able to say that since before the financial crisis,” King told reporters.
“But this is no time to be complacent. We must press on to ensure a recovery and to bring down unemployment,” he added.
Britain has been suffering its slowest economic recovery in decades, and the BoE forecast that GDP was more likely to remain below its pre-crisis level for another year or so.
Britain’s economy grew by a sluggish 0.3 percent in the first three months of 2013 from the previous quarter.