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UK wages growing at fastest rate in 11 years

Joanna Faith
Written By:
Joanna Faith

UK wages grew at the fastest pace in over a decade in the year to May, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

Regular pay excluding bonuses grew by 3.6 per cent, while total pay, which takes bonuses into account, increased by 3.4 per cent.

In real terms, after adjusting for inflation, regular pay was up 1.7 per cent and total pay up 1.4 per cent.

Matt Hughes, deputy head of labour market statistics at the ONS, said: “Regular pay is growing at its fastest for nearly eleven years in cash terms, and its quickest for over three years after taking account of inflation.”

Pay increases for some NHS staff and the introduction of the new National Living Wage and National Minimum Wage contributed to the growth.

However, earnings are still lower than before the 2008 financial crisis when.

In real terms, employees took home £468 a week on average at the end of May, £5 lower than the pre-recession peak of £473 per week for April 2008.

Unemployment stable

Meanwhile, the unemployment rate – the number of people actively seeking work – held steady at a record low of 3.8 per cent.

There were 32.75 million people aged 16 and over in employment at the end of May, 354,000 more than for a year earlier.

The increase was mainly as a result of more people working full time (up 247,000 on the year to reach 24.09 million).

Part-time working also showed an increase of 107,000 on the year to reach 8.66 million.

The number of self-employed part-time workers passed 1.5 million for the first time, well over double what it was 25 years ago.

Hughes said: “The labour market continues to be strong, with the employment rate still at a near-record high an unemployment down again.”