UK millennials suffer worst falls in earnings of any advanced economy apart from Greece, report reveals

Average real hourly earnings for under-30s in Britain fell 13 per cent between 2007 and 2014, according to the Resolution Foundation

Ben Chu
Economics Editor
Monday 19 February 2018 13:13
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UK millennials suffer worst falls in incomes of any advanced economy apart from Greece, report reveals

UK millennials have suffered the second-worst falls in their earnings of any of the dozen advanced economies surveyed by a think tank over the past decade.

In a new report, the Resolution Foundation calculates that average real hourly earnings for under-30s in Britain fell 13 per cent between 2007 and 2014.

Only Greece, where real earnings slumped by 25 per cent over the same period as the eurozone country plunged into depression, saw a worst performance for this age group among the dozen advanced economies Resolution analysed in the latest research from its Intergenerational Commission.

British millennials experienced bigger earnings falls than other crisis-hit southern eurozone states such as Portugal and Italy, where they fell 12 per cent and 6 per cent respectively.

Average earnings for Spanish millennials fell by only around 2 per cent.

Resolution also found that the gap between the pay performance of UK millennials and workers aged between 50 and 59 was particularly pronounced, with older UK workers seeing their pay fall by around half the extent of the younger group.

In Italy and France the declines were roughly in line. In Germany, Spain and Italy the older group of workers saw larger pay declines than millennials.

“The pay squeeze has been deeper in the UK than in most other places, and more focused on young people in particular,” said Resolution.

British millennial punishment

Resolution Foundation

However, the jobs market for UK millennials was, in other respects, much healthier than in other countries.

The under-30 unemployment rate rose by only around 2 percentage points over the period. In Portugal it shot up by 12 percentage points and in Italy by 16 percentage points.

In Spain and Greece the millennial jobless rate jumped by around 26 percentage points.

“The UK has traded off more pay growth for younger workers than other countries with similar youth unemployment experiences,” said the think tank.

Another major finding from the study is that millennials in the UK, relative to younger people in other high-income countries, have experienced a pronounced “bust” in rising living standards, following a long “boom” of generation-on-generation advancement in previous decades.

“Only Spain echoes the UK experience [of] a ‘boom and bust’ income cycle where significant generation-on-generation gains for older generations have come to a stop for younger people,” said Daniel Tomlinson, a policy analyst at Resolution.

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