News Summary: UK unemployment rate nears 7 percent

AP News
Posted: Jan 22, 2014 4:19 PM

LOWER UNEMPLOYMENT: Britain's unemployment rate dropped 0.5 percent to 7.1 percent in the three months ended Nov. 30, a shade above the 7 percent level at which the Bank of England may reassess its monetary policy.

DIFFERENT STROKES: The government said Wednesday that the drop affirmed that its long-term economic plans were working. Advocates for the disadvantaged noted that wages failed to grow, and raised concerns about economic growth being equitably spread.

THE POLICYMAKERS: Minutes from the central bank's January monetary policy committee meeting suggest that policymakers may refrain from taking action even after crossing the unemployment rate threshold. While Britain's economic recovery is strengthening, wage and productivity growth have been weak, the bank said. The central bank's key lending rate is a record low 0.5 percent.