Low-paid sectors hit hard by falling real wages

Responding to today’s labour market statistics Ashwin Kumar, Chief Economist at the independent Joseph Rowntree Foundation, said:

“Wages are yet again rising more slowly than prices. Combined with frozen benefits, 2017 has been a year of stress for family finances. But people working in retail and hospitality, who already face low wages, are being hit particularly hard. In real terms, earnings have fallen by 1.4% since last year in these sectors, compared to a 0.4% fall for the average worker.

“Work should provide a route out of poverty, but one in every eight UK workers are finding that this isn’t the case – despite record employment. With rising inflation, many working people are struggling to make ends meet. By investing more in adult training and skills so workers can progress in jobs, and ending the freeze on working age benefits, the Government could make a real difference to families, by helping to close the gap between stagnant wages and rising prices.”