Private sector wage growth surpasses inflation despite unexpected unemployment rise


Private sector wage growth surpasses inflation despite unexpected unemployment rise

Private sector wages and total pay, including bonuses, surpassed inflation despite a surprise rise in the rate of UK unemployment.

Economists thought the unemployment rate would remain at the 4% level recorded last month but it has now gone up to 4.2%.

Wages have also risen again with private sector wage growth increasing to 8.2%, more than a key measure of inflation.

Pay, including bonuses, also reached 8.2%, the largest annual growth outside of the COVID-19 pandemic as the NHS one-off bonus was paid.

Average weekly earnings, excluding bonuses, hit an annual growth rate of 7.8% during the three months to June, surpassing the highest level on record – the 7.3% confirmed in last month’s release.

The growth, however, was outpaced by the rate of price rises, meaning an effective pay cut for workers.

The key measure of inflation (the consumer price index) stood at 7.9% in the year to June. Not since October 2021 has wage growth outpaced inflation.

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Public sector wages increased by 6.2%, the highest since September to November 2001 when public sector pay increased by 5.7%.

Some sectors saw even higher rises.

Wages in finance and business services had the largest annual growth rate of 9.4%, followed by the manufacturing sector at 8.2%; it’s the highest annual growth rate for the sector since comparable records began in 2001.

Wage rises had been said to be “unsustainable” by the governor of the Bank of England who has been attempting to bring down inflation to 2% via 14 consecutive interest rate rises.

On wages, Mr Bailey has said they are “not consistent currently with the 2% target, because we’re not at the 2% target at the moment”.

“It’s going to need to come down.”

Latest figures will pile pressure on the Bank to continue its rate rising programme, making borrowing more expensive as a result.

Responding to the data Chancellor Jeremy Hunt said: “Thanks to the action we’ve taken in the jobs market, it’s great to see a record number of employees.

“Our ambitious reforms will make work pay and help even more people into work – including by expanding free childcare next year – helping to deliver on our priority to grow the economy.”


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