UK Jobs Preview: Feeble figures still furloughed? Another robust report may boost BOE-fueled rally

  • Britain's unemployment rate for June and jobless claims for July will likely remain upbeat. 
  • The UK's labor market has been holding up thanks to the government's successful furlough scheme.
  • GBP.USD has room to extend the BOE-fueled gains. 

Pandemic, what pandemic? That may the reaction for anyone looking at the UK's unemployment rate – a remarkable 3.9% in May, deep into the crisis and no different than January, when Brexit was all the rage. 

Britain has had its share of suffering from COVID-19 – with one of the world's highest death rates and a near-death experience for Prime Minister Boris Johnson. Nevertheless, the economic response has been far better than the health one.

The jewel in the crown is the government's furlough scheme – paying workers most of their salaries while they are unable to work. Another program supports small businesses and has been hailed as efficient and effective

Economists expect June's jobless rate to remain at 3.9%, and after three months of positive surprises, that makes perfect sense. 

If Britain's official unemployment rate remains depressed, it would support the pound. An increase to 4% would likely be shrugged off, while only 4.1% or higher – returning to levels seen in 2018 – would be worrying.

The second significant statistic is Claimant Count Change which is for July, a more recent figure shot above one million in April and hit around half a million in May. That was far above the double-digit fluctuations seen in the pre-pandemic era.

However, after these two terrible months, applications dropped by 28,1000 in June. The ongoing gradual reopening in July has likely pushed claims lower despite the hiccups in Leicester and later Manchester and other areas. 

It would take a substantial increase in monthly applications to send sterling lower. 

Average earnings are set to remain at low levels. Including bonuses, wages are projected to have dropped by 0.8% in June, worse than -0.3% in May. Excluding them, a meager growth rate of 0.4% is forecast, down from 0.7% previously. 

Nevertheless, disregarding salaries is one of the changes that coronavirus has brought to the market reaction to the jobs report. The focus is on jobs that depend on the virus – wages and inflation have lost their importance. 

GBP/USD bias and reactions

While the BOE said that risks are skewed to the downside, it upgraded 2020 growth forecasts from the abyss of -14% to a more reasonable -9.5%. It also pointed to robust high-frequency data Andrew Bailey, Governor of the Bank of England, stressed that setting negative rates is not currently on the cards. 

More BOE Quick Analysis: Three pound-positive on Super Thursday open door to new highs

The dollar remains on the back foot amid a stuttering US economy, hit hard by COVID-19 and politicians' feet-dragging on the next fiscal stimulus. 

An upbeat or an employment report that meets expectations could continue supporting the pound. The wind is blowing in favor of sterling after the Bank of England painted a relatively rosy picture.  A truly horrible report – potentially a mix of a leap in June's unemployment rate and a surge in July's claims is needed to change the picture. 


The UK's upcoming labor figures will likely remain robust thanks to the government's largesse – the furlough scheme is set to run through at least October. The pound needs only minor support to continue rising after the boost from the BOE. 


Information on these pages contains forward-looking statements that involve risks and uncertainties. Markets and instruments profiled on this page are for informational purposes only and should not in any way come across as a recommendation to buy or sell in these assets. You should do your own thorough research before making any investment decisions. FXStreet does not in any way guarantee that this information is free from mistakes, errors, or material misstatements. It also does not guarantee that this information is of a timely nature. Investing in Open Markets involves a great deal of risk, including the loss of all or a portion of your investment, as well as emotional distress. All risks, losses and costs associated with investing, including total loss of principal, are your responsibility. The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of FXStreet nor its advertisers. The author will not be held responsible for information that is found at the end of links posted on this page.

If not otherwise explicitly mentioned in the body of the article, at the time of writing, the author has no position in any stock mentioned in this article and no business relationship with any company mentioned. The author has not received compensation for writing this article, other than from FXStreet.

FXStreet and the author do not provide personalized recommendations. The author makes no representations as to the accuracy, completeness, or suitability of this information. FXStreet and the author will not be liable for any errors, omissions or any losses, injuries or damages arising from this information and its display or use. Errors and omissions excepted.

The author and FXStreet are not registered investment advisors and nothing in this article is intended to be investment advice.

Recommended Content

Recommended Content

Editors’ Picks

EUR/USD keeps its range above 1.0850 amid risk-off mood

EUR/USD keeps its range above 1.0850 amid risk-off mood

EUR/USD is oscillating in a tight range above 1.0850 in the European session on Tuesday. The pair stays cautious due to risk-off sentiment and a modest US Dollar uptick, as investors weigh the ECB and Fed rate cut expectations. The focus now remains on speeches from Fed officials. 


GBP/USD holds gains above 1.2700, awaits fresh catalysts

GBP/USD holds gains above 1.2700, awaits fresh catalysts

GBP/USD holds small gains above 1.2700 in European trading on Tuesday. Investors await fresh catalysts, with several Federal Reserve speakers and BoE Governor Andrew set to speak. Tuesday's Fedspeak weighed on rate cut expectations and fuelled a fresh US Dollar advance. 


Gold pulls back after touching a new all-time high

Gold pulls back after touching a new all-time high

Gold price (XAU/USD) retreats to the $2,410s on Tuesday as commentary from central bank policymakers around the globe reveals a reluctance to commit to lowering interest rates. 

Gold News

Shiba Inu price flashes buy signal, 25% rally likely Premium

Shiba Inu price flashes buy signal, 25% rally likely

Shiba Inu price has flipped bullish to the tune of the crypto market and breached key hurdles, showing signs of a potential rally. Investors looking to accumulate SHIB have a good opportunity to do so before the meme coin shoots up.

Read more

Three fundamentals for the week: UK inflation, Fed minutes and Flash PMIs stand out Premium

Three fundamentals for the week: UK inflation, Fed minutes and Flash PMIs stand out

Sell in May and go away? That market adage seems outdated in the face of new highs for stocks and Gold. Optimism depends on the easing from central banks – and some clues are due this week.

Read more