Wages grew by 3.6% in the year to May 2019, the highest growth rate since 2008, according to Office for National Statistics figures. However, adjusting for inflation, wages held steady compared with last month.
A record high total of 32.75 million people were in employment in the same period, while there were 1.29 million people unemployed.
ONS deputy head of labour market statistics Matt Hughes said: “The labour market continues to be strong.”
Ed Monk at Fidelity International, said: “The good news from today’s wage data is that pay is rising by 1.4% a year in real terms, and faster for those getting bonuses. That means households are getting richer in real terms. For the jobs market the news is more mixed. The overall numbers in work was level on last month’s reading, however, indicating that job creation may be stalling.
“Tomorrow’s inflation figures tell us more about the money in our pockets. Last month inflation started to edge higher again giving some cause for concern that wages could soon outstrip inflation. If this is the case tomorrow, then some of the shine may come of today’s wage numbers.
Employment nears record
Scotland’s employment rate rose over the quarter and year to 75.8%, very close to the highest on record. The unemployment rate fell over the year to 3.3%, also very close to the record low and 0.5 percentage points lower than the UK’s (3.8%). Scotland’s unemployment rate has now been lower than the UK’s for 10 months in a row.
Business Minister Jamie Hepburn said: “Yet again we are seeing strong results for Scotland’s labour market.
“But it’s not just headline rates where we’re doing well. The employment rate for Scotland’s women rose over the quarter and year to 72.5% – continuing to outperform the UK where the employment rate is lower at 72.0%. We also outperform the UK on unemployment (2.9% vs 3.6%) and inactivity (25.2% vs 25.3%) rates for women.
“The latest stats show our labour market is also working for young people. The 16-24 year old employment rate in Scotland rose by 2.5 percentage points over the year and at 58.7% is higher than the UK’s (53.3%).
“These latest results shows Scotland is seeing the benefits of our Labour Market Strategy – driving inclusive and sustainable economic growth, rising to the challenges of our labour market and delivering fair and good quality work across society.
“While Scotland’s economy and job market continues to perform, the UK Government’s EU exit plans, in whatever form, will cost jobs, make people poorer and damage our society.
“The Scottish Government has consistently been clear that the best option for the future wellbeing and prosperity of Scotland, and the UK as a whole, is to stay in the European Union.”