UK wages rise at fastest pace in 11 years
Wages in the UK rose at the fastest rate in 11 years in the second quarter of 2019, at 3.9%, despite Brexit woes.
The BBC had the news:
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 from April to June showed a slight rise.
The employment rate was estimated at 76.1%, the joint highest since comparative records began in 1971.
ONS deputy head of labour market statistics Matt Hughes said that most of the growth this year was because more women were in employment.
Figures released last week showed the economy shrank 0.2% in the second quarter, the first contraction since 2012.
Bloomberg’s Jill Ward and Lucy Meakin noted overall employment also grew:
U.K. wages rose at their fastest pace in 11 years in the three months through June and employment climbed to a record high.
Basic earnings growth is now close to 4%, far above inflation and good news for consumers. The figures were bolstered by increases for National Health Service staff and a higher minimum wage introduced in April.
The headline figures point to ongoing strength in the labor market, with employment growth far outstripping economists’ forecasts. However, there were some signs of the Brexit jitters weighing on the wider economy, with vacancies falling to their lowest level since early 2018. Productivity also slumped from a year earlier, its fourth straight decline.
“This is far from a perfect jobs report. Employer caution is limiting the supply of new vacancies, yet stiff competition for recruits is still driving up wages,” said Pawel Adrjan, U.K. economist at the global job site Indeed. “Given the wider slowdown in the economy, the labor market is holding up surprisingly well,” he said.
The Guardian’s Richard Partington reported some details:
The ONS said about 115,000 more people found a job between April and June, when Theresa May extended the Brexit deadline until October, pushing up the number of people in work to a record of just over 32.8 million.
Unemployment rose slightly from 3.8% to 3.9%, but remains at tits lowest level since the mid-1970s.
The UK labour market has proven unexpectedly resilient since the Brexit vote three years ago, even as economic growth has slowed. GDP declined in the second quarter for the first time since 2012, raising the spectre of a recession before the UK’s scheduled departure from the EU on 31 October.
Some economists believe businesses have continued to hire workers to meet customer demand as they put costlier investments such as new technology, buildings and plant equipment on hold because of the uncertainty over Brexit. The British labour market is highly flexible, meaning workers are easier to hire and fire if the economic situation rapidly changes.