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The Resolution Foundation Earnings Outlook

A look beyond the headline data on the forces behind current developments in pay, how the fruits are shared, and the short- and longer-term drivers of earnings growth

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What's happened:

The earnings breakdown

Median employee earnings

In the most recent data, real median pay grew by 3.1%. Pay growth has picked up in the latest data, in part due to workers returning from furlough when many received 80% of their normal earnings.

All worker average earnings

Our all worker earnings measure is based on pre-pandemic data, so the falling gap reflects the hit to employee weekly pay thanks to furloughing in the crisis.

Earnings decomposition

Pay growth was 1.5 ppts higher as a result of compositional effects. The 'Lifting the Lid' section explores these compositional effects in more detail.

Pay rises

Median year-on-year real hourly pay growth for employees in work over a year (both job stayers and changers) stood at 1.4% in April 2019, 0.6pp higher than the previous year.

Earnings inequality

Both our headline measures of earnings inequality (r75:25 and r90:10) continue to fall and at an increasingly fast pace. The 90:10 gap has closed by more than 10% over the past decade.

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What’s around the corner:

Pay pressures and slack

Unemployment by duration

The unemployment rate rose to 4.9% in the latest data, and there are signs that long-term unemployment is starting to increase.

Underemployment

Under-employment has risen significantly in the crisis, likely due to employers making hours reductions in the face of weak demand and supply constraints.

Job-to-job moves

The proportion of workers voluntarily moving job (an indicator of worker confidence) was down by more than half on the previous year. This will have a negative effect on pay growth.

Migrant job entry

The proportion of jobs going to new migrants has fallen by 7 per cent over the past year.

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What’s in the pipeline:

Long-term labour market health & efficiency

Workforce participation

The labour force participation rate of 18-69-year-olds reached 76.8% in Q3 2020, but the crisis has caused recent growth to plateau.

Labour productivity

Hourly productivity rose sharply in Q3 2020, possibly for compositional reasons (people in lower-productivity sectors losing their jobs).

Training intensity

The long-term trend in falling ‘off-the-job’ training has flattened out, but the proportion of workers receiving such training remains low – a potential drag on productivity.

Graduates in non-graduate roles

The proportion of graduates in non-graduate roles (a measure of mismatched demand and supply of skills) has fallen over the past year, and stands at 35.3%.

PDF Briefing

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RF’s quarterly earnings outlook four page briefing paper.

Read past briefings

All Data Spreadsheet

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