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Wages continue to grow as job vacancies fall

Joanna Faith
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Joanna Faith

Wage growth in the UK remains strong, but job creation has slowed, official figures show.

Total pay, including bonuses, increased by 4 per cent in the three months to July, while regular pay excluding bonuses grew by 3.8 per cent, slightly down from the previous period, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

Employment remained at a record high, with figures showing 76.1 per cent of 16-64 year olds were in work – a joint record high.

However, the number of vacancies for June to August fell to around 812,000 in the UK, 23,000 fewer than for the previous quarter and 33,000 fewer than for the previous year.

David Freeman, head of labour market at the ONS, said: “Vacancies continue to fall back from recent record highs, with much of this decline coming from small businesses.”

The unemployment rate remained at 3.8 per cent, unchanged from the previous quarter.

Ed Monk, of Fidelity International, said: “We’ve now had a year of above 3 per cent wage growth, and crucially that pay has outstripped inflation since March 2018.

“That has to have a positive easing effect on household budgets even if it only makes up for ground lost from years of stagnant wages.

“Today’s headline growth figure of 3.8 per cent (excluding bonuses) is a little down on last month, when a one-off boost to public sector employees fell out of the year-on-year comparison, but it’s a further encouraging sign following evidence yesterday that GDP growth in July may have bounced after a negative second quarter of the year.

“The UK needed a bit of good news ahead of what promises to be a testing few months politically and economically.”