16 October 2014
Unemployment has dropped below two million, but pay is only 0.7% higher than it was a year ago, according to latest employment figures from the ONS.
Unemployment has fallen to 1.97 million for the three months to the end of August. Compared with a year ago this is down 22.9% for men, and 19.5% for women. For the period June to August 2014 there were 30.76 million people in work – 46,000 more than for the period March to May 2014.
While the IER recognises that the new employment figures are good news, it is important to recognise that quantity of jobs does not necessarily reflect quality of jobs. The continuing assault on labour standards, underemployment, high self-employment, and a growing zero hours contract culture must be taken into account before celebrating low unemployment. More information about Zero Hours Contracts can be found in Re-regulating Zero Hours Contracts. by Simon Deakin and Zoe Adams, available now.
The new figures further evidence that pay is not recovering. Pay including bonuses for this period is 0.7% higher than a year earlier, with pay excluding bonuses 0.9% higher. This is set against an inflation rate of 1.5% for August.
Research by the TUC suggests that we are in the midst of the longest and most profound decline in real earnings since the mid-Victorian era.
TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said, “Detailed analysis of the figures show that even the cash increase in pay was entirely due to the finance and business sectors. With these never ending falls in living standards and so many new jobs insecure, low-paid and self-employed, Britain’s workers have been excluded from the recovery.
“It is time to share out the proceeds of growth by creating good jobs and giving people a decent wage increase. Ten of thousands will be joining the TUC’s march on Saturday to say Britain needs a pay rise.”
On Saturday 18 October the TUC is organising Britain Needs a Pay Rise – a national march and rally in London to call for an economic recovery that delivers for everyone, and for fair wages to help end the living standards squeeze. For more information on the campaign go to www.tuc.org.uk/economic-issues/britain-needs-pay-rise.