UK wage growth picks up to 11-year high

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Wage growth in the UK picked up to 3.9% in the year to June, the highest rate for 11 years, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

However, the unemployment rate in the April-to-June period edged up slightly to 3.9%.

The employment rate was estimated at 76.1%, the joint highest since comparative records began in 1971.

Figures released last week showed the economy shrank 0.2% in the second quarter, the first fall since 2012.

Wages have been outpacing inflation since March 2018.

Part of the reason for this month’s rise was the unusual timing of annual pay rises for public health workers last year, when a larger-than-usual increase was deferred until July.

In real terms (after adjusting for inflation), regular pay – which excludes bonuses – is estimated to have increased by 1.9%.

ONS deputy head of labour market statistics Matt Hughes said: “”Excluding bonuses, real wages are growing at their fastest in nearly four years, but pay levels still have not returned to their pre-downturn peak.”

The employment rate for women was 72.1% – the highest on record – and for men was 80.1%, slightly lower than the previous three-month period.

Overall, a record high of 32.81 million people were in employment – 425,000 more than a year earlier, largely because of more people working full-time.

Mr Hughes added: “Employment continues to increase, with three-quarters of this year’s growth being due to more women working. However, the number of vacancies has been falling for six months, with fewer now than there were this time last year.”



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