Forex Pros - The number of people claiming unemployment benefits in the U.K. rose significantly more-than-expected in May, official data showed on Wednesday.
In a report, the U.K. Office for National Statistics said that the claimant count rose by a seasonally adjusted 19,600 in May, after rising by 16,900 in April, whose figure was upwardly revised from an increase of 12,400.
Analysts had expected the claimant count to rise by 6,500 in May.
Meanwhile, the rate of unemployment held steady in April at 7.7%, broadly in line with expectations.
The report also said that the average earnings index rose less-than-expected in April, climbing by a seasonally adjusted 1.8%, below expectations for a 2.1% increase. The previous month's figure was revised up to 2.4% from 2.3%.
Following the release of the data, the pound was down against the U.S. dollar, with GBP/USD shedding 0.29% to trade at 1.6325.
Meanwhile, European stock markets were broadly lower. The FTSE 100 was down 0.25%, the EURO STOXX 50 slumped 0.5%, France's CAC 40 dipped 0.35%, while Germany's DAX declined 0.4%.