Nye Cominetti

A good year for pay?

Five things we learned from the Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings 2019

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This morning the ONS published the Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings (ASHE) for 2019 – the most detailed data on employee pay available, telling us about high and low pay, the gender pay gap, and more besides. As a think-tank focusing on raising living standards, this is pretty crucial data for us, and for … Continued

Torsten Bell

A rare political consensus has broken out over a higher minimum wage – but achieving it is far from straightforward

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The politics of the minimum wage don’t exactly fit our lazy stereotypes. Back in the pre-crisis days of supposed consensus, debates raged about whether the policy was right or wrong. Today, when political divides are huge, everyone is falling over themselves to agree that a higher minimum wage is the way to go. The Chancellor … Continued

Nye Cominetti

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

Tackling the new frontiers of low pay

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Bad policies get the most attention. Whole books have been written on government interventions that achieved the exact opposite of what they intended, or eventually delivered at miles over budget. That’s why the UK’s minimum wage – effective, popular and cheap – is such a rare thing. The latest evidence confirms the minimum wage’s continued … Continued

The Autumn Budget 2017 brings worse than hoped for news for the low paid

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or many people, the big news out of November’s Budget – a massive downgrade in the outlook for productivity growth – will sound a bit abstract. The productivity downgrade has made the Chancellor’s task of balancing the books harder. But its impact on pay – with average annual earnings lowered by £1,000 – mean it’s even … Continued

The national living wage has caused the biggest fall in low pay in 40 years – but how is this improving people’s living standards?

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Employment is at a 40-year high, while pay is stagnating. That, in brief, sums up the last few years of changes in Britain’s labour market. As Figure 1 shows, politicians rightly highlight that employment and unemployment are undeniably trending in the right direction. But the good news on employment has failed drastically to translate into … Continued

The latest on low pay

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To paraphrase the great Yogi Berra, making predictions is hard. That’s especially true of the future of the UK’s labour market. After all, the current combination of record high employment and falling real wages is not a forecast many economists would’ve made even a couple of years ago. But new Annual Survey of Hours and … Continued

Torsten Bell

Morrisons matters: we need an industrial strategy for pay packets

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Like excessively floral play suits, industrial strategy has made a comeback from that strange land we call the 1970s. It’s all the rage. The government has named a department after it. Jeremy Corbyn is so keen to set that strategy free of European rules and regulations, he wants to leave the single market over it. … Continued

How did firms pay for the big pay rise in 2016? Through productivity and price rises, not job losses

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2016 marked the introduction of a big, controversial new player on the political economy scene, whose influence is set to grow and grow over the next four years. No, this isn’t a blog about President-Elect Trump. For millions of low earners across the UK, another development has had an even bigger impact. The National Living … Continued

No jobs-killer as employers take a ‘suck it and see’ approach to the National Living Wage

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With all the economic and political tumult of the past couple of weeks, the launch of the National Living Wage (NLW) already feels a long time ago. But it’s only been three months since the government’s flagship labour market policy came into force. As with Brexit, we’ll need to wait before judging the full impact … Continued

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