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Dow Jones Newswires: U.K. unemployment rate rises, but labor market remains tight

The U.K.’s unemployment rate rose slightly in the three months to April while employment continued to increase in May, suggesting that a slowdown in economic activity hasn’t hit the labor market.

The U.K.’s unemployment rate increased to 3.8% in the three months through April compared with 3.7% in the previous three-month period, according to data from the Office for National Statistics released Tuesday.

The number of payrolled employees increased by 90,000 in May, less than in the previous months, to a total of 29.6 million. The number of job vacancies in March to May rose to a new record of 1.3 million.

Wage growth stabilized, according to the ONS data. Average weekly earnings in the three months to April excluding bonuses increased 4.2% on year, unchanged from a the advance registered from January to March. Adjusted for inflation, earnings decreased 2.2%.

“The high level of bonuses continues to cushion the effects of rising prices on total earnings for some workers, but if you exclude bonuses, pay in real terms is falling at its fastest rate in over a decade,” ONS head of economic statistics Sam Beckett said.

The U.K. economy contracted for a second consecutive month in April, adding to evidence that the country’s recovery from the coronavirus pandemic is faltering amid decades-high inflation.

Write to Xavier Fontdegloria at xavier.fontdegloria@wsj.com

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