The UK unemployment rate remained at an 11-year low in the three months to November, while basic wages grew more than expected, figures released on Wednesday (18 January) showed.
According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), the unemployment rate in the quarter to November stood at 4.8%, in line with expectations and unchanged from the 11-year low recorded in the previous quarter.
However, the number of employed workers fell for the second consecutive month in the quarter to November, declining by 9,000 to 31.80 million. The figure, however, was 294,000 higher than in the corresponding period last year.
The number of unemployed people in Britain stood at 1.60 million, 52,000 fewer than in the quarter through to August 2016 and 81,000 fewer than for a year earlier.
There was positive news on the wages front, as basic salaries grew 2.7% in the three months to November, higher than the 2.6% figure analysts expected.
Meanwhile, the number of people claiming unemployment benefit fell by 10,100 in December, to 797,800, compared with analysts' forecast for a 5,000 increase.
Last week, Bank of England's economist Michael Saunders said the unemployment rate looked set to remain close to its 11-year low in 2017, but wages were unlikely to grow significantly this year.
"Economic growth has recently been stronger than expected," Saunders, an independent external member of the rate-setting Monetary Policy Committee, told the Resolution Foundation think tank.
"Rather than the rise in unemployment forecast in the November Inflation Report, it seems quite possible to me that the jobless rate will stay below 5% this year."
A separate report released on Tuesday, showed inflation rose at the fastest pace in two and a half years in December, growing more than analysts had expected as the weaker pound translated into higher import prices.
Inflation rose 1.6% year-on-year in December, up from the 1.2% reading recorded in November and higher than the 1.4% figure analysts forecast.
"It was important that the average earning index picks up pace to keep up with inflation," said Naeem Aslam, chief market analyst at Think Markets UK.
"The inflation data has already brought headache for the Monetary Policy Committee members and it is not a good news for consumers because their purchase power is going to see a dramatic impact. Households will have to dig deeper in their pockets and if their earnings do not match inflation, we have a problem."