Nye Cominetti
Jobs
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Labour market
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Pay

The labour market is delivering on jobs and pay – it is vital for living standards that we keep it that way

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A tight labour market is finally delivering decent pay growth. In the three months to July 2019, average weekly regular pay (i.e. excluding bonuses) grew by 1.9 per cent on the previous year (slightly down on the previous month). Given that average real pay grew by 2.1 per cent in the eight years prior to … Continued

Torsten Bell

Is the UK recession ready?

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The good news is we’ve now managed a recession free decade since the financial crisis. The bad news is that history teaches us this is quite unusual – booms and bust haven’t been abolished. This matters – downturns have very high costs, even when they’re not of the global financial crisis earth-shattering sort. On average … Continued

Living standards
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Prices & consumption
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Brexit & trade
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Tax

After Brexit the UK could cut VAT on energy – but should it?

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During the EU referendum, one of Vote Leave’s promises was that “fuel bills will be lower for everyone”. Specifically, Boris Johnson and others argued that: “In 1993, VAT on household energy bills was imposed. This makes gas and electricity much more expensive. EU rules mean we cannot take VAT off those bills. The least wealthy … Continued

Labour market
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Skills
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Apprenticeships

What do the latest apprenticeship figures tell us?

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This August, as always, brought a host of headlines on academic results: from A level triumphs to parents’ confusion with the new(ish) GCSE marking system. Rather less attention, as always, was paid to students who pursued qualifications and pathways outside the traditional GCSE-to-A level-to-university route. For instance, apprenticeships, where young people can – in theory … Continued

Nye Cominetti
Pay

How to get a pay rise

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How do you get a pay rise? You could try to wrangle more out of your employer with canny negotiating tactics. That may help. But it’s not how the majority of us see our pay rise – and occasionally fall – over time. In practice, other factors are likely to be more important. Some of … Continued

Nye Cominetti
Jobs
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Labour market
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Quality and security
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Low pay
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Pay
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Minimum wage

Is the minimum wage pushing people into self-employment?

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Two big changes in the labour market over the past two decades have been the rise in self-employment and the introduction and uprating of the minimum wage. Is there a connection between these trends? Legally, of course, there is no connection – the minimum wage applies to employees only. But economically, we would expect one. … Continued

Richard Hughes
Public spending
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Fiscal policy
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Economy and public finances
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Macroeconomic policy

Another summer blockbuster (on fiscal risks) from the OBR

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Today the OBR published its second Fiscal Risks Report, a comprehensive assessment of all the things that could go wrong with the UK’s public finances over the next 50 years. And it is a summer blockbuster – topping out at 293 pages in total. Fiscal risk analysis is the new cutting edge in fiscal policymaking, … Continued

Living standards
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Universal Credit
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Childcare
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Scotland
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Welfare

A welcome boost for ‘just about managing’ families in Scotland

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Yesterday started with a bleak assessment by the Child Poverty Action Group of the impact of ongoing welfare cuts – specifically how the two-child limit on support, which began to be implemented in 2017, is set to push 300,000 children into poverty. But there was better news for Scottish parents later in the day, as … Continued

Nye Cominetti
Jobs
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Labour market
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Productivity & industrial strategy
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Pay

Two and a half reasons to be cheerful about our strong and stable labour market

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Today’s labour market statistics were, to use a technical term, boring. In a world of high political and economic drama, our labour market has served up headline measures of real pay growth and employment which basically haven’t changed for four months in a row. We shouldn’t bemoan unchanging numbers. Like air travel and digging tunnels, … Continued

Young people are no longer footloose and fancy free – and rent rises are to blame

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Millennials, eh? They never stand still. Always on the move, with their ‘portfolio careers’, side hustles in the gig economy, and no loyalty to the companies they work for. With an attitude like that, it’s no wonder they struggle to find decent work and pay. There’s only one problem with this common trope though. It’s … Continued

Daniel Tomlinson
Jobs
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Labour market
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Quality and security

Union membership is rising again – but will it last?

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In 2018 the Trades Union Congress (TUC) celebrated its 150th birthday. Yesterday the government delivered a somewhat belated birthday present to the union movement in the form of new statistics showing that membership levels have risen significantly for the first time in almost two decades. Happy birthday TUC! In this short blog post, we provide … Continued

Wrong time, wrong place – leaving education in the middle of a downturn

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Modern economies are supposed to deliver improving living standards – incrementally year-on-year, with big gains decade-on-decade. That is why it is so shocking that a 30-year-old today earns no more than a 30-year-old a decade ago, according to previous research by the Resolution Foundation’s Intergenerational Commission. This is an earnings freeze on a scale unprecedented … Continued

Coming of age during a downturn can cause scarring – and it takes up to a decade to heal

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Recessions are bad for people’s standard of living. And they’re particularly bad for young people. That’s the painful lesson we learnt after the 1980s recession where, for most of that decade, at least one in seven people under 30 were unemployed. We know a lot about the unemployment scarring of the 1980s – from the … Continued

Daniel Tomlinson
Firms
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Labour market
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Productivity & industrial strategy

The word on the high street

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The way we shop in the UK has changed dramatically in just the space of a decade. In 2008 less than five per cent of retail spending was online, and that share has almost quadrupled in the years since. The latest statistics published just this morning show that in March this year almost a fifth … Continued

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