Investing.com - The number of people claiming unemployment benefits in the U.K. declined more-than-expected in February, while the country’s jobless rate held steady, 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 34,600 last month, compared to expectations for a decline of 25,000 people. January’s figure was revised to a drop of 33,900 people from a previously reported decline of 27,600.
The report also showed that the rate of unemployment remained unchanged at 7.2% in January, in line with expectations.
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 1.4% in January, compared to expectations for a 1.3% increase, after rising by 1.2% in the previous month.
Following the release of the data, the pound added to gains against the U.S. dollar, with GBP/USD rising 0.27% to trade at 1.6635, compared to 1.6624 ahead of the data.
Meanwhile, European stock markets remained mixed. London’s FTSE 100 shed 0.1%, the EURO STOXX 50 inched up 0.05%, France’s CAC 40 dipped 0.1%, while Germany''s DAX added 0.35%.