Britain’s unemployment rate dropped unexpectedly from three months to February, data from the office for National Statistics showed on Tuesday.
The jobless rate fell to 4.9 per cent in the three months to February.
Economists had forecast the rate to rise to 5.1 per cent, from 5 per cent in three months to January.
At the same time, the employment rate dropped 0.1 percentage points from the previous quarter, to 75.1 per cent.
Annual growth in average employee pay continued to strengthen.
The growth was driven in part by compositional effects of a fall in the number and proportion of lower-paid employee jobs.
In the three months to February, average earnings, including bonuses, grew 4.5 per cent annually.
Earnings excluding bonuses advanced 4.4 per cent.
In March, the claimant count rate held steady at 7.3 per cent.
The number of people claiming unemployment benefited increased by 10,100 from February.