December 11, 2018 / 9:33 AM / 3 months ago

UK workers get biggest pay rise in a decade

FILE PHOTO: City workers head to work during the morning rush hour in Southwark in central London April 16, 2014. REUTERS/Toby Melville

LONDON, Dec 11 (Reuters) - British workers had their biggest pay rise in a decade in the three months to October as the country’s strong labour market showed no sign of weakening ahead of Brexit, official figures showed on Tuesday.

Average weekly earnings, including bonuses, rose by 3.3 percent on the year, their biggest rise since the three months to July 2008 and comfortably beating a median forecast of 3.0 percent in a Reuters poll of economists.

The Bank of England, which has said it will need to raise interest rates gradually to offset inflation pressures from the labour market, has forecast slower wage growth for the end of 2018 than Tuesday’s official figures suggest.

Total earnings, excluding bonuses, also rose by an annual 3.3 percent in the three months to October, the Office for National Statistics said, the biggest rise since the end of 2008.

With unemployment at close to its lowest level since the 1970s — 4.1 percent in the three months to October — employers have begun raising pay for staff more quickly.

The pace of wage rises remains slower than the 4 percent increases seen before the financial crisis but real earnings, adjusted for inflation, rose nonetheless by the fastest since the end of 2016, up 1.1 percent.

The number of people in work rose by 79,000 in the three months to October, more than any forecast in the Reuters poll.

Reporting by William Schomberg and David Milliken

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