Investing.com - The number of people claiming unemployment benefits in the U.K. declined more-than-expected in May, while the country's jobless rate fell to the lowest level since January 2009, official data showed on Wednesday.
In a report, the U.K. Office for National Statistics said that the claimant count fell by a seasonally adjusted 27,400 last month, compared to expectations for a decline of 25,000 people. April's figure was revised to a drop of 28,400 people from a previously reported decline of 25,100.
The report also showed that the rate of unemployment declined to 6.6% in the three months to April from 6.8% in the three months to March, compared to expectations for a decline to 6.7%.
The Bank of England previously announced plans to keep interest rates on hold at record lows as long as the U.K. unemployment rate remains above 7%.
Meanwhile, the average earnings index rose by a seasonally adjusted 0.7% in the three months to April, compared to expectations for a 1.2% increase, after rising by 1.9% in the three months to March.
Following the release of the data, the pound turned higher against the U.S. dollar, with GBP/USD rising 0.08% to trade at 1.6770, compared to 1.6753 ahead of the data.
Meanwhile, European stock markets remained lower. London's FTSE 100 shed 0.3%, the Euro Stoxx 50 inched down 0.2%, France's CAC 40 dipped 0.4%, while Germany's DAX slumped 0.4%.
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