UK labour market: The UK is working more hours than ever before, as wage growth slides

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UK workers put in more hours than ever before in the three months to October (Source: Getty)

UK workers toiled for more than a billion hours per week between August and October, figures published today showed - which means the UK is working more hours than ever before.

Labour market statistics from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) showed the employment rate hit 73.9 per cent during the period, the highest since records began in 1971. Unemployment fell to 5.2 per cent, its lowest since the three months to January 2006.

“[The high number of hours worked] results from the number of people in work continuing to increase, as average weekly hours per person are fairly stable at present.," said ONS statistician David Freeman.

"Earnings continue to grow in real terms, though at a slower rate than we have seen in recent months.”

Meanwhile, wage growth hit 2.4 per cent, down from a post-financial crisis high of three per cent in the six months to the end of September.

Scott Corfe, head of macroeconomics at the Centre for Economics and Business Research (Cebr) said living standards were continuing to improve.

"With inflation basically zero and set to remain very low in 2016 amidst subdued oil prices, rising earnings are translating into some pretty notable increases in living standards.

"On our calculations, real inflation-adjusted gross earnings are growing at roughly the same rate as that seen between 2000 and 2007. Factor in tax cuts (the increases in personal allowances) and the boost to confidence brought on by rising house prices, and the outlook for consumers looks even more positive."

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