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News | Published November 13 2018

ONS: Wages rising at fastest rate for ten years

The Office for National Statistics today announced that wages have risen at the fastest rate during the last three months for almost ten years. In their monthly economic commentary, they declared that wages have risen by 3.2 per cent in the three months leading up to September, when compared with the same time period in 2017.

The report confirmed that, while wages have risen in comparison to last year, wages in real terms are still lagging behind those in 2015. The report also showed that the number of people living in the UK that were also in employment has risen to 32.41 million, which is a 23,000 increase on third quarter statistics from 2017.

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  • Third quarter wages are higher than in 2017, according to ONS
  • Wages still lower than 2015 in real terms

The report also highlighted that the number of men in either full or part time employment rose "to a record high of 17.19 million in the third calendar quarter of 2018." This represented a 29,000 increase on the third quarter of 2017, but the number of women in employment actually fell. There are currently 15.22 million women in employment, which is 6,000 fewer than this time last year.

During last month's budget the Chancellor Philip Hammond announced a range of tax cuts and he greeted the news that employment and wages were on the rise

While employment rose in comparison to last year, unemployment was shown to have also risen. According to the report, there are now 1.38 million people in the UK unemployed, while 4.2 per cent of UK nationals living in the UK are now unemployed. Following the report a spokesperson from Reuters explained that "Unemployment unexpectedly rose to 4.1% in the three months to September from a 43-year low of 4.0% the previous quarter, as slowing job creation failed to keep pace with rising job-seeker numbers."

During last month's budget the Chancellor Philip Hammond announced a range of tax cuts and he greeted the news that employment and wages were on the rise. Following the news Hammond tweeted "Good news from the ONS today: employment in the UK is at a record high and wages are growing at their fastest pace in almost ten years. But it's important that people's hard-earned money goes further, that's why at the Budget we cut taxes and froze fuel duty again."


Despite the positivity of Hammond in light of the report, economists questioned the causes behind the rising unemployment numbers, especially among UK nationals. Alasdair Ross of the Economist Intelligence Unit tweeted in response "UK unemployment up amid the highest jobs vacancies since 2001, and an exodus of EU nationals from the UK job market. Could it be that UK workers lack the desire or skills needed to take on the roles being vacated by departing migrants?"