Unemployment in Britain has risen to 1.85 million, an increase of 25,000 on the last quarter but still ahead of like-for-like statistics for the previous years, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) has announced. ONS figures showed that it was the first time in two years there had been two back-to-back quarterly increases in unemployment.
Analysts have said the numbers are an indication that the labour market may be beginning to plateau after a period of relatively sustained growth. One ONS statistician stated: "This is now the second consecutive time we've reported fewer people in work on the quarter.
"While it's too early to conclude that the jobs market is levelling off, these figures certainly strengthen that possibility. Growth in pay, however, remains solid."
The unemployment rate was 5.6%, the ONS announced, which was down 0.7% from the second quarter of 2014. The rate saw little change compared to the first quarter of 2015.
Pay growth excluding bonuses was 2.4% in the UK, while wages increased by 2.8% including bonuses. Samuel Tombs, senior UK economist at Capital Economics, said that the news supports the idea held by the Bank of England's Monetary Policy Committee that the interest rate should not be hiked until 2016.
Tombs said in an analyst note: "We doubt that these figures mark the start of a deteriorating trend in the labour market. Although they have weakened, surveys of private-sector employment intentions point to annual jobs growth remaining within a range of 1% to 2% throughout the second half of this year."
"The slowdown in wage growth largely reflected volatility in bonus payments," Tombs added.