Saturday, April 20, 2024

UK wage growth slows as unemployment firms up

Most economists expected the jobless rate to remain at 3.8 per cent.

• March 12, 2024
UK flag
UK flag used to illustrate the story [Photo credit:]

Wage growth has eased back once again as Britain’s unemployment rate ticked up but earnings are still outpacing inflation, according to official figures.

The Office for National Statistics said average regular pay growth, excluding bonuses, fell to 6.1 per cent in the quarter to January.

From 6.2 per cent down in the three months to December and marked the slowest growth for more than a year.

But when taking Consumer Prices Index inflation into account, real regular wages rose by two per cent, which was the highest since the summer of 2019, excluding the pandemic-skewed years.

The ONS said the UK rate of unemployment lifted unexpectedly to 3.9 per cent in the three months to January from 3.8 per cent in the previous three months.

The vacancies fell by 43,000 quarter-on-quarter in the three months to February to 908,000, the 20th drop in a row.

Most economists had expected the jobless rate to remain at 3.8 per cent.

ONS director of economic statistics, Liz McKeown, said “Recent trends in the jobs market are continuing, with earnings, in cash terms, growing more slowly than recently. But, thanks to lower inflation, real-term pay continues to increase.

“The number of job openings has also been falling for the past two years, though the total remains more than 100,000 above its pre-pandemic level. Over the last year, there was little change in the proportions of people who are employed, unemployed or neither working nor looking for work, though the overall number of people in work is still rising.” 


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