Real wages continue to fall at fastest rate since 2009, figures show

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The gap between wage growth and the rising cost of living remained at a record high in the three months to November, figures show, highlighting the struggles faced by millions of households across Britain.

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Data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) showed real wages fell 3.9% in September to November from a year earlier.

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The real wage figure shows how better off or worse off people are after taking into account consumer price index inflation (CPI).

This is similar to the decline reported in the October data, and the joint largest decline in real incomes in the three months to April 2009, when they fell 4.5%.

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Wages increased by 6.4% in the three months – 7.2% in the private sector and 3.3% for public sector workers.

Darren Morgan, director of economic statistics at the ONS, said: “The real value of people’s wages continues to fall, with prices still rising faster than earnings.

“This is the sharpest drop in regular earnings since records began.”

It came as figures showed the UK unemployment rate rose to 3.7% in the same three months, unchanged from the three months to the end of October, but was up 3.5% for the period between June and August.

The change compared to August was largely driven by an increase in people looking for work, as the proportion of people in employment remained unchanged during the period.

People who are not employed or looking for work are not counted in these figures.

“In the most recent three months, employment levels were largely unchanged from the previous three months,” Mr Morgan said.

“However, unemployment rose, driven by more young people who recently became unemployed, meaning that overall there was a slight increase in the number of people actively engaged in the jobs market, whether working or looking for work.” doing it.”

The proportion of those considered “economically inactive” fell 0.1 percentage point to 21.5%, driven largely by 16 to 24-year-olds and people aged 50 to 64.

It comes as people try to find ways to deal with the ballooning cost of living.

To try to avoid real-term pay cuts, many workers left their workplaces to strike in November. The 467,000 work days lost in labor disputes were the most since November 2011.

Chancellor of the Exchequer Jeremy Hunt said: “The single best way to help people’s wages is to stick to our plan to halve inflation this year.

“We must not do anything that risks permanently embedding higher prices in our economy, which will only prolong the pain for everyone.”

Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary Jonathan Ashworth said: “Today’s figures show the Tories are completely bereft of ideas when it comes to tackling the cost of living crisis, boosting the economy and supporting people in work .

“Real wages are falling, nearly two and a half million people are out of work because of illness, and many people – especially over 50s – are not getting the support they need to stay in work either or to go back to work.

Paul Novak, general secretary of the Trades Union Congress (TUC), said: “Workers are losing hundreds of pounds off their annual wages over the past year.

“But in the public sector, Conservative ministers are dragging their heels on meaningful conversation. Hence the employees have no option but to exercise their right to strike to protect their wages.

“The Conservative government will not solve wage disputes by introducing new laws attacking the right to strike.

“The best way to settle disputes is around the negotiating table – and with credible wage offers that protect workers from rising prices.”

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