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UK unemployment rate drops to lowest since 2008

LONDON (AP) — Britain’s unemployment rate dropped to 6 percent for the June to August period, down from 6.4 percent in the three months before and the lowest rate since 2008.

The Office of National Statistics said Wednesday there were 1.97 million unemployed people, 538,000 fewer than a year earlier. The agency says it was the largest annual fall in unemployment since records began in 1972.

Samuel Tombs, senior U.K. economist for Capital Economics, says the figures suggest Britain is starting to see the pick-up in productivity required for the recovery to maintain momentum.

Pay including bonuses was only 0.7 percent higher than a year earlier. The Bank of England has expressed concern about slow wage growth, and the muted figure will encourage policymakers to keep interest rates low despite the strengthening economy.

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