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Wage growth approaches eight-year high and jobless total falls again

PUBLISHED: 12:13 17 June 2015 | UPDATED: 12:13 17 June 2015

Unemployment fell again in the three months to April, official figures showed today.

Unemployment fell again in the three months to April, official figures showed today.

PA Archive/Press Association Images

The annual increase in wages has reached its highest level in real terms for nearly eight years, amid a further fall in unemployment, official figures showed today.

Total pay climbed by 2.7% compared with a year earlier in the three months to April, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said, representing the biggest increase since August 2011.

And with the inflation rate for April having stood at minus 0.1%, the real terms annual increase of 2.8% was the highest since October 2007.

Meanwhile, total unemployment fell by fell by 43,000 to 1.81million in the three months to April compared with the pevious three months, its lowest level since the three months to August 2008.

The narrower count of those eligible for unemployment-related benefits in May – under a new measure including both those on Jobseeker’s Allowance and some of those receiving Universal Credit – fell 6,500 to 791,800, its smallest fall since February 2013.

Jobseeker Allowance claims in Suffolk followed the national downward trend with most local authority areas seeing the local unemployment rate fall by 0.1 of a percentage point.

This included Ipswich, down 67 to 1,931 (2.2%), Waveney, down 100 to 1,106 (a rate of 1.7%), St Edmundsbury, down 50 to 646 (0.9%), Forest Heath, down 20 to 300 (0.7%), and Babergh, down 11 to 431 (0.8%).

The exceptions, where smaller falls left the local rates unchaged, were Suffolk Coastal, down 49 to 412 (0.6%), and Mid Suffolk, down 33 446 (0.8%).

Employment Minister Priti Patel said: “Today’s figures confirm that our long-term economic plan is already starting to deliver a better, more prosperous future for the whole of the country, with wages rising, more people finding jobs and more women in work than ever before.

“As the Government for working people, we want to go further and create one nation that is based on security and opportunity.

“We will continue to help businesses create jobs and support those who want to work hard and get on as part of our ambition to achieve full employment.”

Labour said the fall in overall unemployment was welcome but pointed out that the figures showed 740,000 young people were still jobless, although this was slightly down on the previous quarter.

Shadow work and pensions secretary Stephen Timms said: “It’s clear the Government needs to do far more to give young people the chance to earn a living. Ministers are failing to ensure young people get the best start in life.”

TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady added: “Although today’s improvements are welcome, there is still a long way to go for youth unemployment and under-employment. Real wage growth remains too reliant on low inflation, and even if prices remain exceptionally low we are facing a lost decade on pay growth.”


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