Chancellor Jeremy Hunt has responded to the latest labour market data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS).
The UK's whole economy's total pay growth experienced a slight dip at the end of last year, falling from 6.7% in the three months to November 2023 to 5.8% in the three months to December.
Despite this, real wage growth remains positive at 1.6% in the three months to December 2023 when deflated by the Consumer Price Index (CPI). This marks the sixth consecutive month of positive real wage growth.
The job market shows resilience, with a record-high 30.4 million employees on payrolls in January 2024, reflecting a 4.6% increase from pre-pandemic levels. This positive trend aligns with the Government's efforts to boost employment.
In the Autumn Statement 2023, the Chancellor expanded on measures introduced in the Spring Budget 2023 to support the employment of an additional 78,000 people by 2028-29. These initiatives aim to achieve key government objectives, including promoting economic growth, managing inflation, controlling spending, and enhancing productivity.
The targeted groups for this employment drive are individuals classified as long-term sick or disabled and those who have been long-term unemployed. The comprehensive package aims to foster a robust and inclusive job market.
The Chancellor said:
"It's good news that real wages are on the up for the sixth month in a row, and unemployment remains low, but the job isn't done. Our tax cuts are part of a plan to get people back to work so we can grow the economy - but we must stick with it."
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