Wages continued to beat inflation in the year to October, official figures revealed yesterday.
Regular pay (excluding bonuses) was 1.6 per cent higher in the three months to October than the same period a year ago, according to the Office for National Statistics.
Inflation as measured by annual growth in the consumer price index was 1.3 per cent in October. It has since fallen to one per cent in November which may provide an even greater boost to the purchasing power of pay packets. The unemployment rate – the percentage of the labour force actively looking for jobs – remained at six per cent in the three months to October, the same as in the three months to September.
It is down from 7.2 per cent one year ago and now close to pre-recession levels of between five and 5.5 per cent.
Over the last year the number of people in full-time work has risen by 560,000 or 2.5 per cent whereas the number of part-time workers increased 28,000 or 0.3 per over the same time.
Despite the stagnation in the unemployment rate, the government talked up the latest figures yesterday.
“What we look at is the bigger picture of the long-term trend and you can see a considerable reduction in unemployment,” Esther McVey, minister of state for employment told City A.M.
“If you were to look at 2014, there was the biggest fall in youth unemployment since records began, the biggest fall in long-term unemployment since 1998, and record numbers and rates of women into work.”
The youth unemployment rate was 14.7 per cent in the three months to October, down from 18.8 per cent a year ago. It peaked at 20.3 per cent during the recession, but is now nearing pre-recession levels of around 12 per cent.