Employment figures increase by record-breaking 350,000 in three months, but earnings are down

 

social affairs correspondent

The number of people in work has leapt by a record 350,000 in the three months to April, but wages have slumped below inflation which has sparked concerns over levels of pay.

While the Government celebrated the new jobs, there was evidence this was an austerity recovery. The Office for National Statistics recorded a decrease in the rate of earnings growth – meaning that in real terms wages are down.

The wage growth rate slowed to 0.7 per cent from 1.9 per cent the previous month, bringing it behind inflation, which is currently at 1.8 per cent.

The TUC’s general secretary, Frances O’Grady, said: “It’s great that more people are joining the workforce but hugely worrying that workers are still not getting the decent pay rises they need to get by.”

The rise in employment means there are now 30.5 million people in work, and represents the biggest increase since records began in 1971.

Esther McVey, the minister for employment, said: “As we build a stronger economy, businesses up and down the country are feeling increasingly confident about creating jobs, meaning many thousands more people are in work every day – ensuring a better future for them, their families, and for the country as a whole.

“Helping young people to get a job is vital to securing our economic future, so it’s welcome that youth unemployment has continued to fall.”

The figures show the make-up of the workplace is changing, with a significant fall in public-sector jobs in the last quarter, taking them to their lowest level since the figures were first collected in 1999.

In total, public-sector employment fell by 103,000 in the last quarter to 5.4 million. The loss of public-sector jobs was partly attributed to Lloyds staff being reclassified as private-sector employees. However, 27,000 of the jobs lost were in local government.

Unison’s general secretary, Dave Prentis, said: “Today’s employment figures once again paint a sorry story for public-sector workers and all who rely on local services.”

The shadow Work and Pensions Secretary, Rachel Reeves, said: “While this fall in overall unemployment is welcome, working people are over £1,600 a year worse off than when David Cameron came to office and pay has fallen behind inflation.

“Thousands of people who work hard are struggling to make ends meet because of the Government’s failure to make work pay. That’s led to a staggering 60 per cent increase in the number of working people claiming housing benefit because they can’t afford their rent, costing taxpayers an estimated £4.8bn.”

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Recruitment Genius: Claims Administrator

£16000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A position has arisen within th...

Ashdown Group: Development Manager - Rickmansworth - £55k +15% bonus

£50000 - £63000 per annum + excellent benefits : Ashdown Group: IT Manager / D...

Recruitment Genius: Security Officer

£16500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Applicants must hold a valid SIA Door Su...

Ashdown Group: Business Analyst - City, London

£50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Business Analyst - Financial Services - The C...

Day In a Page

The saffron censorship that governs India: Why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression

The saffron censorship that governs India

Zareer Masani reveals why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression
Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Supreme Court rules Dominic Grieve's ministerial veto was invalid
Distressed Zayn Malik fans are cutting themselves - how did fandom get so dark?

How did fandom get so dark?

Grief over Zayn Malik's exit from One Direction seemed amusing until stories of mass 'cutting' emerged. Experts tell Gillian Orr the distress is real, and the girls need support
The galaxy collisions that shed light on unseen parallel Universe

The cosmic collisions that have shed light on unseen parallel Universe

Dark matter study gives scientists insight into mystery of space
The Swedes are adding a gender-neutral pronoun to their dictionary

Swedes introduce gender-neutral pronoun

Why, asks Simon Usborne, must English still struggle awkwardly with the likes of 's/he' and 'they'?
Disney's mega money-making formula: 'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan

Disney's mega money-making formula

'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan
Lobster has gone mainstream with supermarket bargains for £10 or less - but is it any good?

Lobster has gone mainstream

Anthea Gerrie, raised on meaty specimens from the waters around Maine, reveals how to cook up an affordable feast
Easter 2015: 14 best decorations

14 best Easter decorations

Get into the Easter spirit with our pick of accessories, ornaments and tableware
Paul Scholes column: Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season

Paul Scholes column

Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season
Inside the Kansas greenhouses where Monsanto is 'playing God' with the future of the planet

The future of GM

The greenhouses where Monsanto 'plays God' with the future of the planet
Britain's mild winters could be numbered: why global warming is leaving UK chillier

Britain's mild winters could be numbered

Gulf Stream is slowing down faster than ever, scientists say
Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Donation brings total raised by Homeless Veterans campaign to at least £1.25m
Oh dear, the most borrowed book at Bank of England library doesn't inspire confidence

The most borrowed book at Bank of England library? Oh dear

The book's fifth edition is used for Edexcel exams
Cowslips vs honeysuckle: The hunt for the UK’s favourite wildflower

Cowslips vs honeysuckle

It's the hunt for UK’s favourite wildflower
Child abuse scandal: Did a botched blackmail attempt by South African intelligence help Cyril Smith escape justice?

Did a botched blackmail attempt help Cyril Smith escape justice?

A fresh twist reveals the Liberal MP was targeted by the notorious South African intelligence agency Boss