Slide in real wages means just managing families face little respite

Responding to the ONS labour market figures, Helen Barnard, head of analysis at the independent Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF), said:

“Britain’s employment has climbed ever higher and it is encouraging to see more people in work. Yet the number of people struggling to make ends meet despite being in work has also increased.

“Real wages have seen an alarming slide. This is the third month in a row that real earnings have fallen. In real terms earnings are no better than they were 12 years ago: total pay in real terms is the same as it was in August 2005.

“With benefits and tax credits frozen, there is little respite for families just about managing. Some 3.8 million workers are trapped in poverty, many with few qualifications and precious little opportunity to retrain.

“The Government must make urgent progress with its industrial strategy – working across party lines to deliver a plan that drives up skills and productivity across the country. That will deliver more and better jobs and higher living standards that people desperately need.”

Average weekly earnings total pay, real and nominal, whole economy, seasonally adjusted, (2015=100%)