UK real pay – plus ça change...

From the ONS table of “average weekly earnings at constant 2000 prices”, published today, we find the following March wage levels:

UK average total real pay
March 2006               £368
March 2011                £368
March 2016               £367

Yes, the real (after allowing for inflation) average wage per employee is almost exactly the same as it was 10 years ago… and 5 years ago…

Collapse of real pay has outstripped the rise in UK jobs

If you add up the percentage falls in UK real pay for each year taking 2008 as the base for calculation, you reach an overall loss over the 7 years of 38.5% of the 2008 total wage.  Or roughly £10,000 in total.  

This is the essential backdrop to the employment data for November 2015, released by ONS earlier today. True, the headline UK employment and unemployment figures for the 3 months to November paint another positive picture.  The number of those aged 16 to 64 in employment rose by 213,000 over the previous (June-August) months.  But the gain in employment is a trade-off in terms of pay.  

Signs of very marginal improvements in Greece - but unemployment still over 25%

The headline news from the latest Labour Force Survey results is that Greece’s unemployment has fallen just a little in January 2015 – it is now 25.7% compared to 27.2% in January 2014, and to 25.9% in December 2014.  The annual fall in unemployed is around 87,000, but note that the total number of unemployed is still a massive 3.53 million.

The employment situation has improved even less compared to a year ago – with a gain of just 37,000 finding employment.