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UK employment edges up but wages still lag soaring inflation amid cost of living crisis


EMPLOYMENT in the UK has risen but Brits’ wages are still lagging behind as soaring inflation and a cost of living crisis cripple their wallets.

New data from the Office for National Statistics said almost 32.5million Brits aged 16 and over are currently in work.


Almost 32.5million Brits aged 16 and over are currently in work.[/caption]

The number of UK workers on payrolls rose by 275,000 between January and February to a record 29.7 million, according to the new figures.

Meanwhile, their pay was up 4.8%, just behind inflation which currently is at 5.5%.

Grant Fitzner, chief economist at the Office for National Statistics, said: “The labour market continues to recover from the effects of the pandemic, with the number of unemployed people falling below its pre-pandemic level for the first time and another strong rise in employees on payroll in February.

“Because bonuses have continued at high levels for some workers, total earnings growth just kept ahead of rising prices over the past year, though regular pay has dropped again in real terms.”

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But inflation continues to rise as the cost of living crisis bites.

It’s expected to hit 7% soon, so that means workers won’t see their money stretch as far, as the cost of everything from goods at the supermarket, to bills, goes up.

It means struggling Brits face a tight squeeze on wages, despite more people being in work and higher vacancies being in place.

The new data revealed that job vacancies had hit a record 1.3 million, in fact.

Lauren Thomas, Glassdoor’s EMEA economist said: “The continued tight labour market means it remains tough to hire talent with job vacancies in February reaching a new record of 1,318,000.

“The twin blows of the pandemic and Brexit have greatly reduced labour supply in face-to-face, low-wage jobs such as retail, administrative and domestic work.

“Left with little other choice, employers have raised pay to attract the workforce they need, particularly for lower-paid employees, who have seen some of the biggest gains in wages. 

“But sky-high inflation and the continued impact of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on direct supply chains and energy prices means that wages are struggling to keep up.”

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The cost of living crisis rages on and typical households have an upward battle of rocketing energy bills, on top of soaring food costs, and tax increases, plus other bill rises to come too.

Plenty of suppliers from energy companies, to broadband providers and more are increasing their tariffs in just weeks, so Brits will find it harder to make their wages stretch the costs.

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