Pay growth still lagging as unemployment falls

Pay growth has been lower than the rise in the cost of living for several months

Wages grew by a below-inflation 2.2% in the three months to September as unemployment fell, official figures show.

Pay in real terms – when taking into account inflation – dropped by 0.5%, the seventh month in a row of decline, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said.

Figures showed the gap widened compared to the previous month as the rise in the cost of living accelerated.

They cover a period which saw inflation climb to a five-year high of 3%.

The unemployment rate, at 4.3%, remained at its lowest level since 1975. The jobless total fell by 59,000 to 1.42 million.

However the total number of employed people, at just over 32 million, was down by 14,000, partly reflecting an increase in those classed as economically inactive – not seeking or available to work.

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