Wages showing fastest increase in almost a decade

According to the latest figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), wages rose at the fastest pace in nearly a decade in the three months to September.

When comparing the figures with the same period last year, wages – excluding bonuses – rose by 3.2 per cent, which represents the biggest rise since the end of 2008. Wages were also up slightly on the previous quarter.

Average weekly earnings also increased during the same period by 0.9 per cent.

ONS Senior Statistician Matt Hughes said: “With faster wage growth and more subdued inflation, real earnings have picked up noticeably in the last few months.”

The news comes despite the fact that unemployment has risen for the first time this year, rising by 21,000 during the same period to 1.38 million.

The unemployment rate went up to 4.1 per cent from 4.0 per cent in the period from July to September.

On top of that, the amount of EU workers in the UK has decreased significantly in the past three months, with the prospect of Brexit and the weak pound encouraging many to return to their country of origin.

According to the latest figures, the number of EU nationals fell by 132,000 compared with the same period the year before.

There have been mixed views on the latest wage growth and unemployment figures.

Employment Minister Alok Sharma said: “The benefits of a strong jobs market are paying off. With more people now in work than ever before and unemployment almost halving since 2010, we are delivering an economy that gives people the opportunity for a better future.”

Whilst Suren Thiru, Head of Economics at the British Chambers of Commerce, said: “The UK’s impending departure from the European Union has played a part in the rise in the number of people out of work.

“The UK jobs market may be starting to falter under the weight of persistent Brexit uncertainty and chronic skills shortages”.