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UK Wages Rise, Unemployment at Historic Low as Economic Good News Continues on Path to Brexit

Britain's Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders says it urgently needs clarity on the transitional arrangements for Brexit, after investment in the sector slumped in 2017
AFP

Wage growth outpaced expectations in the United Kingdom in the year to July, the latest figures show, with pay having risen above inflation for four straight months in good news for British workers.

Wages excluding bonuses grew by 2.9 percent in the three months to July. Including bonuses, which fell slightly during the period overall, remuneration for work still rose 2.6 percent, outpacing both 2.4 percent rises city analysts predicted and inflation.

Total unemployment continued its downward trend, falling 55,000 in the period. Balanced against workforce changes and other factors, this meant unemployment as a proportion remained at 4 percent, a historic low not seen since the winter of 1974.

Britain’s Office of National Statistics, the government body which collects and publishes this data, said the labour market was “robust”. Illustrating this, job vacancies in the UK economy grew to 833,000 unfilled positions — the highest number ever.

Several news outlets conceded the improvement in wages may be linked to a contraction in the supply of labour in the UK market, thanks in part to the Brexit vote which has seen a slowing in the arrival of cheap migrant workers from the European Union. The Guardian, in a nod to its roots as a paper representing the interests of the working class, reported Tuesday that:

The latest snapshot from the jobs market could suggest workers’ bargaining power is gradually rising on the back of the lowest levels of unemployment for four decades, with the jobless rate of 4% the lowest since the winter of 1974-75. Fewer people for companies to hire can help drive up demands for better pay and working conditions.

Yet it swiftly corrected itself, noting this would cause concern for business owners with Brexit approaching — Britain’s wealthy middle class who the paper now more often sides with.

Breitbart London reported in August at the time of the last statistics release that Britain has seen the largest annual fall in EU nationals working in the nation since records began in 1997.

The positive economic news stands in stark contrast to the dire predictions for the United Kingdom in the case of a Brexit vote made by economists and politicians supporting Britain remaining in the European Union.

George Osborne’s warning that “not a single serious economist does not think Brexit will be bad for the economy” has since been damaged by the number of organisations performing U-turns on their dire predictions. Among the claims was that recession for the British economy in 2017 would be unavoidable in the case of a Brexit vote, and half a million job losses — although London Mayor Sadiq Khan still clings to the claim.

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