Unemployment flat at 7.8 per cent

Employment rises by 0.1 percentage point to 71.5 per cent.

The unemployment rate has stayed flat at 7.8 per cent for the months of April to June 2013, according to the ONS. There are 4,000 fewer unemployed people than there were in the months of January to March this year.

The employment rate for those aged from 16 to 64 has risen by 0.1 percentage point over the same period, to 71.5 per cent.

The unemployment rate has taken on a new significance in the last month, since the Bank of England governor Mark Carney announced that the Bank would be targeting a rate of 7 per cent as part of its new forward guidance plans.

But, despite a widespread narrative that unemployment is consistently falling, this is now the seventh straight report in which unemployment has been higher than its recent low. The level seems to have stagnated around 7.8 per cent, leaving Carney in no fear of having to live up to his promise any time soon.

There is better news, of sorts, in the figures for earnings. Total pay rose by 2.1 per cent in the twelve months to June, up 0.3 percentage points compared to the last report. It remains 0.8 per cent below inflation, making this the 41st straight report in which real wages have declined year-on-year:

Alex Hern is a technology reporter for the Guardian. He was formerly staff writer at the New Statesman. You should follow Alex on Twitter.

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Donald Trump's healthcare failure could be to his advantage

The appearance of weakness is less electorally damaging than actually removing healthcare from millions of people.

Good morning. Is it all over for Donald Trump? His approval ratings have cratered to below 40%. Now his attempt to dismantle Barack Obama's healthcare reforms have hit serious resistance from within the Republican Party, adding to the failures and retreats of his early days in office.

The problem for the GOP is that their opposition to Obamacare had more to do with the word "Obama" than the word "care". The previous President opted for a right-wing solution to the problem of the uninsured in a doomed attempt to secure bipartisan support for his healthcare reform. The politician with the biggest impact on the structures of the Affordable Care Act is Mitt Romney.

But now that the Republicans control all three branches of government they are left in a situation where they have no alternative to Obamacare that wouldn't either a) shred conservative orthodoxies on healthcare or b) create numerous and angry losers in their constituencies. The difficulties for Trump's proposal is that it does a bit of both.

Now the man who ran on his ability to cut a deal has been forced to make a take it or leave plea to Republicans in the House of Representatives: vote for this plan or say goodbye to any chance of repealing Obamacare.

But that's probably good news for Trump. The appearance of weakness and failure is less electorally damaging than actually succeeding in removing healthcare from millions of people, including people who voted for Trump.

Trump won his first term because his own negatives as a candidate weren't quite enough to drag him down on a night when he underperformed Republican candidates across the country. The historical trends all make it hard for a first-term incumbent to lose. So far, Trump's administration is largely being frustrated by the Republican establishment though he is succeeding in leveraging the Presidency for the benefit of his business empire.

But it may be that in the failure to get anything done he succeeds in once again riding Republican coattails to victory in 2020.

Stephen Bush is special correspondent at the New Statesman. His daily briefing, Morning Call, provides a quick and essential guide to British politics.