Wages again above pre-economic disaster ranges

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Office workersImage copyright Getty Images

Average weekly wages within the UK have reached their highest ranges since earlier than the monetary disaster.

Weekly pay reached £512 within the three months to December, which – adjusting for inflation – is the best since March 2008.

Excluding bonuses, earnings grew at an annual price of three.2% within the three-month interval, official figures present.

Employment rose by 180,000 to a different file excessive of 32.93 million, whereas unemployment stayed at 1.29 million.

The figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) confirmed the variety of ladies in employment elevated once more – this time by 150,000 within the three months to December to a file excessive of 15.61 million.

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Myrto Miltiadou, of the ONS, stated: “In actual phrases, common earnings have lastly risen above the extent seen in early 2008, however pay together with bonuses continues to be beneath its pre-downturn peak.

“Employment has continued its upward trend, with the rate nudging up to another record high. In particular, the number of women working full-time grew strongly over the past year.”

Employment Minister Mims Davies stated: “As we embark on a brand new chapter as an impartial nation exterior the EU, we achieve this with a record-breaking jobs market and enterprise confidence on the rise.

“With wages still outpacing inflation, UK workers can expect their money to go further as we look ahead to a decade of renewal.”


It’s at all times good to have some cheerful information to report, such because the information that wages, after stripping out the impact of inflation, have lastly squeaked above their degree in March 2008. In different phrases, your wage can lastly purchase a bit of bit greater than it may earlier than the banking disaster. So let’s rejoice. Hooray.

Now let’s home in on the quantities. The common wage excluding bonuses is now £511.61. In March 2008, the typical wage would have purchased you £510.96 (in 2019 costs). In different phrases you might be 65p higher off than you had been – 12 years in the past.

Well whoop-de-doo. There’s at all times a half-full or a half-empty angle on wage will increase. But to many employees, this minor financial landmark will serve much less as a trigger for celebration and extra as a reminder that the previous decade has been the worst for enhancements in living requirements in additional than 200 years.

The 2008 disaster, brought on by reckless mismanagement of the banks for which no-one has been punished, is one cause (not the one one) that the typical pay packet has didn’t do what we used to take as a right – i.e. improve by greater than inflation.

It used to occur yearly. Low-pay suppose tank the Resolution Foundation factors out that if pre-crisis tendencies for will increase in pay in actual phrases had continued, the typical wage would now be £141 per week greater.


Thomas Pugh, at Capital Economics, stated the employment figures proved the Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) was proper to depart rates of interest unchanged final month.

“The most recent surveys are suggesting that employment growth will continue to pick-up in Q1, which we think will contribute to the MPC keeping rates on hold at its next meeting on 26 March as well,” he stated.

However, the Institute of Directors warned: “The UK jobs market ended final yr in superb kind, however 2020 could also be tougher for employers.

“As more and more workers enter employment, it becomes harder for firms to recruit the employees they need, with a particular dearth in certain skill sets.”

And Samuel Tombs, chief UK economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics. stated: “The upside shock to employment progress distracts from an in any other case barely disappointing report.

“Despite the recovery in business confidence since the general election, the single-month measure of job vacancies was 49,000, or 6%, lower in January than a year earlier, showing no improvement from its recent trend.”