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LONDON: The UK unemployment rate edged higher to 4.3 percent in the three months to the end of July, as wage growth remained at a record high, official data showed Tuesday.

Unemployment had been 4.2 percent in the quarter to the end of June, the Office for National Statistics added in a statement.

The figures came a day after administrators of struggling UK household goods retailer Wilko said that more than 10,000 staff will lose their jobs after the firm failed to find a buyer.

Spanish unemployment rate falls to lowest level since 2008

Twenty-four Wilko stores will shut their doors for good on Tuesday in the first phase of closures.

In further gloomy jobs news on Tuesday, high street bank Barclays confirmed that it would axe some 450 mid- to senior-level roles across the country.

National officer for the Unite union Dominic Hook branded the move “unnecessary and unjustified”, and said it which would raise fears among other staff about job security.

“How can a profitable finance organisation such as Barclays slash over 450 staff amid a cost-of-living crisis?” he added, calling for the bank to reconsider.

“If these plans for compulsory redundancy are implemented then hundreds of families will lose their livelihoods and face financial hardship.”

Elsewhere, statistics showed that average regular earnings growth, excluding bonuses, stood at 7.8 percent in the three months to the end of July.

“Wage growth remains high, partly reflecting one-off payments to public sector workers, but for real wages to grow sustainably we must stick to our plan to halve inflation,” finance minister Jeremy Hunt said in reaction.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak at the start of 2023 said he hoped to halve UK annual inflation when the level stood above 10 percent.

But it remains at 6.8 percent, the highest among G7 nations.

“The tightness of the labour market continued to ease in July,” noted Ashley Webb, UK economist at Capital Economics research group.

“But the… wage growth will only add to the Bank of England’s unease and supports our view that the Bank will raise interest rates once more, from 5.25 percent currently to a peak of 5.5 percent” at its regular policy meeting next week.

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