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More of us in jobs, less of us getting pay rises

The latest 'employment report' is out

Every three months the government releases stats on how many people are in work, and how much they're getting paid.

Optimists reported headlines like 'Jobs boost at record high' and 'Britain is working'. Pessimists said things like 'Wage growth at weakest level since January' and 'Workers unable to demand higher pay despite lowest unemployment since 1970s'.

Neither of the two are wrong. Unemployment in the UK is at its lowest since 1975, with just 4.2% of people out of work. 75.7% of those between 16 and 64 have a job, the highest proportion since records began in 1971.

But wages aren't growing with it. Average weekly earnings grew 2.5% this quarter, compared to 2.6% the quarter before. It doesn't sound like a big difference, but it translates into hundreds, if not thousands, of pounds per family.

Generally, economists think that if unemployment is low, workers should be able to demand higher wages, because it's not like there are people lining up outside the gates asking for a position. But that theory doesn't seem to be working at the moment.

Read the full story: Mail / Business Insider for the good news, or Sky / The Guardian for the bad news

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