The Bank of England sought Wednesday to assure markets and businesses it won't raise its key interest rate any time soon despite a faster-than-expected decline in Britain's jobless rate.
The central bank previously said it would consider raising its benchmark rate -- currently at a record low 0.5% -- once the unemployment rate fell to 7%, something the bank's policymakers didn't expect to happen until 2015. But jobless rate sank in the latest reading and now stands at 7.1%.
With that in mind, Bank of England Governor Mark Carney said at a news conference Wednesday that a variety of economic factors, not just unemployment, would be taken into account to determine the appropriate time for raising interest rates. Among those factors, he said, would be pay growth and labor productivity.
Britain's economic recovery, Carney said, would be better served by waiting to raise interest rates.
"Bank rates may need to stay at low levels for some time to come," he said.
Like the U.S. Federal Reserve, the Bank of England is scrambling to figure out how to unwind its economic-stimulus policies without spooking investors or slowing down the recovery.
The Fed voted late last year to start reducing its monthly bond purchases. But Fed officials said at the time they would hold their benchmark short-term interest rate near zero until "well past the time" the jobless rate falls below 6.5%.