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Wage growth surges as unemployment falls

Average weekly pay, excluding bonuses, rose 2.2% in the first quarter, according to ONS data, the highest growth rate since mid-2011, but much lower than before the financial crisis, when it averaged about 4% a year. The employment rate rose from 73.4% to 73.5%, a record, and the unemployment rate fell to 5.5%, the lowest level since 2008 and close to the pre-crisis average of 5.3%. Matthew Whittaker, chief economist at the Resolution Foundation, said the pay recovery appeared to be on a surer footing but warned that 'the long-term challenge is encouraging productivity gains to ensure that the current level of real wage growth holds as inflation returns to normal'.

 

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