Wages in the UK are rising are faster than prices are – that means more cash in the average pocket, which is what economists call a rise in the 'real wage'.
What it means: It's not much good if you get a pay rise, but the price of buying food, heating your house, and just generally keeping alive also goes up. That problem, called the squeeze, has been a big preoccupation for economists and politicians over the past couple of years.
According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), 'basic pay' – that's the salary listed in your pay packet (not including a bonus if you're lucky enough to get one of those bad boys) – has risen by 2.8 per cent in the last quarter. The inflation rate – that's how much prices are rising – has dropped to 2.7 per cent. Okay, it's not huge, but this is the first time in a year that wages are rising faster than prices.
Sadly, just because the average basic pay rate is rising, doesn't mean *you're* actually getting a pay rise. In fact, the biggest criticism of all of this excitement is that it doesn't include a lot of people whose wages are stuck at a low rate – public sector workers haven't got any meaningful rise, for example. And wages in the finance sector are rising faster than anywhere else.
But it's the symbolism that's got all those economists hot under the collar. They're using it as a sign that living conditions in the UK are starting to improve, after months of doom and gloom.