Female unemployment falls to record low but no sign of a pay rebound

Published on Jobs, Skills and Pay

Female unemployment has fallen to a record low of 4.1 per cent but pay growth across the economy continues to disappoint, the Resolution Foundation said today (Tuesday) in response to the latest ONS labour market statistics.

Overall unemployment remained at 4.2 per cent, while employment remained at a record high of 75.6 per cent. Female unemployment has fallen to its lowest ever level of 4.1 per cent, while male unemployment is at 4.3 per cent.

Real earnings grew by 0.4 per cent off the back of easing inflationary pressures. The Foundation notes however that real average earnings remain £15 a week – or £780 a year – lower than they were a decade ago.

Prospects for a pay recovery remain fairly muted, with nominal pay growth yet to hit 3 per cent, let alone the 4.5 per cent average growth experienced in the decade running up to the financial crisis.

Public sector pay growth finally moved into positive territory (0.2 per cent growth) after a 16-month squeeze. Future prospects rest on pay settlements being reached in the coming months, alongside the recent NHS agreement.

Conor D’Arcy, Senior Policy Analyst at the Resolution Foundation, said:

“The UK jobs market has continued to impress in 2018, with employment remaining at a record high and female unemployment falling to its lowest ever level.

“But we’re yet to see the good news on jobs feed into wage pressure, with nominal pay growth still below 3 per cent.

“While the easing of inflationary pressures is helping pay packets to stretch that little bit further, there is still no sign of a long overdue pay rebound in Britain.”