Unemployment rose some 1,652 or 1.2 percent on the month to 133,578 in August. However, the increase was wholly attributable to seasonal factors and, adjusted for these, the number of people out of work declined 983 or 0.7 percent to 142,515. Both the unadjusted and adjusted jobless rates were unchanged at 3.0 percent and 3.2 percent respectively, in line with the market consensus.
There was also good news on vacancies which built on July's adjusted 0.3 percent increase with a rise of 0.9 percent. This was enough to lift unadjusted annual growth from 14.6 percent to 15.2 percent.
The August unemployment figures are moderately good, despite the stickiness of the headline data. However, with economic growth disappointingly soft last quarter (see Tuesday's GDP calendar entry), further progress could well be only slow.