HOUSEHOLD spending power has reached a two-year high – as the number of people in work hits a record, official figures revealed.
Job figures defied the doom and gloom with average pay rising by 3.4 per cent last year.
Crucially wages are growing 1.2 per cent higher than inflation – giving Brits their strongest disposable income since 2017.
The number of jobless in the UK fell to 1.36 million – a rate of just 4 per cent and the lowest since 1975.
Employment rate hit 75.8 per cent – the joint highest since 1971.
Vacancies increased by 16,000 to a record of 870,000.
Analysis by the Resolution Foundation said real wage growth – the rate earnings rise above inflation – is on course to strengthen further to around 1.5 per cent in the coming months.
This is the fastest growth since the 2016 EU referendum.
Businesses have shown resilience in the face of uncertainty by opening new positions and hiring at a rapid pace
Tej Parikh, from the Institute of Directors
Tej Parikh from the Institute of Directors, said: “The labour market is a bulwark for the UK economy just as it enters a testing period.
“Businesses have shown resilience in the face of uncertainty by opening new positions and hiring at a rapid pace.
“The jobs boom in turn has provided uplift to the economy, bringing more people into work and helping support household incomes.
“With wages now rising above inflation, workers will feel their pay packets going even further, which should give some reprieve for embattled retailers down the line.”
But TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said: “Employers are still not giving people the pay rises they deserve, leaving them worse off than a decade ago.
“Millions don’t have the security of a solid job, because the Government won’t crack down on insecure work and the Prime Minister’s reckless Brexit strategy is causing employers to take flight.
“We need a plan to restore job security and wages, with new laws to outlaw shady employment practices.”
The Sun Says
BREXIT uncertainty is spooking some firms.
But they’re a minority judging by the remarkably rosy new pay and jobs figures.
Wages up 3.4 per cent, their fastest since 2008. And with inflation down to 1.8 per cent, those pay rises count.
Employment is at a record high of 32.6million. Falling unemployment, at four per cent, is the lowest since 1975.
How do Remainers explain it all, if Brexit is already destroying our economy? Oh, wait . . . we know this one:
Bad news is down to Brexit. Good news is because Brexit hasn’t happened yet.