You are here: Home - Household Bills - News -

Employment rate hits record high but wage growth dips

Written by: Paloma Kubiak
The employment rate has reached a new high but wage growth slowed in the three months to November 2019, official statistics reveal.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said the employment rate reached a record high of 76.3%, with 32.9 million people aged 16 and over in work. This is 359,000 more than a year earlier.

An estimated 1.31 million people were unemployed during September and November 2019, 64,000 fewer than a year earlier and 618,000 fewer than five years ago.

The unemployment rate was 3.8%, largely unchanged on the previous quarter.

Wage growth remained unchanged at 3.2% for total pay (including bonuses) but slowed to 3.4% from 3.5% for regular pay (excluding bonuses).

The ONS said the annual growth in total pay was weakened by unusually high bonus payments made in October 2018 compared with typical bonus payments recorded last year.

In real terms (after adjusting for inflation), annual growth in total pay is estimated to be 1.6% and annual growth in regular pay is estimated to be 1.8%.

For November 2019, average regular pay, before tax and other deductions, was an estimated £511 per week in nominal terms. The figure in real terms is £472 per week, which is still £1 (0.2%) lower than the pre-economic downturn peak of £473 per week in March 2008.

Ed Monk, associate director for personal investing at Fidelity International, said the data, viewed alongside lower inflation confirmed last week, strengthens the case for the Bank of England to cut interest rates.

He added: “The good news is that households, in aggregate, are getting richer as wages rises faster than prices. That’s some comfort when there are other warning lights for the economy. Weak overall growth and retail sales suggest the economy is stalling.”

Sarah Coles, personal finance analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, said: “Another month, another record for employment, and another rise in wages. At first glance it looks like the good times continue to roll, but when it comes to pay, we’re still making up the ground we lost during the financial crash. After you take inflation into account, average pay is still lower than it was in March 2008.”

There are 0 Comment(s)

If you wish to comment without signing in, click your cursor in the top box and tick the 'Sign in as a guest' box at the bottom.

Unfamiliar banks woo savers with top rates…is your money safe?

If you’ve been keeping an eye on the savings best buy tables, you’ll have noticed some unfamiliar names lu...

What the base rate rise means for you

The Bank of England has raised the base rate by 0.25% to 0.5% – following on from the increase from 0.1% to ...

How to get help with your energy bills

The rise in the energy price cap from April will mean millions of households will pay hundreds of pounds a yea...

What will happen if rates change

How your finances will be impacted by a rise in interest rates.

Regular Savings Calculator

Small regular contributions can build up nicely over time.

Online Savings Calculator

Work out how your online savings can build over time.

Having a baby and your finances: seven top tips

We’re guessing the Duchess of Cambridge won’t be fretting about maternity pay or whether she’ll still be...

Protecting family wealth: 10 tips for cutting inheritance tax

Inheritance tax - sometimes known as 'death tax' - can cause even more heartache for bereaved families. But th...

Travel insurance: Five tips to ensure a successful claim

Ahead of your summer holiday, it’s important to make sure you have the right level of travel cover or you co...

Money Tips of the Week