Employment in UK Increases but Strong Growth in Wages Elusive

British employers have hired many more employees that were expected during the early part of 2018, but growth in wages has not yet accelerated, according to new figures released leaving the Bank of England waiting for any signs the economy can handle an increase in interest rates.

Employment increased by over 197,000 during the first quarter of 2018, the largest jump since the latter part of 2015 and exceeded by a large margin analyst expectations of 130,000.

British government and sterling bonds did not move much when figures were released, that showed solid growth for jobs, unemployment sitting at decade low levels, but just a slight increase in pay for the majority of workers in Britain. British workers have been hurt by higher inflation since the Brexit vote of 2016.

Annual growth for earnings, not including bonuses, moved up slightly to 2.9% for the three months through March after an increase of 2.9% in February, said the Office of National Statistics Tuesday.

While that was the largest increase since August of 2015, it was just an increase of 0.4% in pay when adjusting for inflation.

Including bonuses, pay growth in full fell to 2.6% from 2.8% in the three months through February.

The Bank of England last week did not change its interest rates, despite saying during February that costs for borrowing were likely headed higher quicker than it previously had thought. It said it preferred to be sure the local economy was rebounding after barely expanding during the first quarter.

Hiring strength, said economists, in figures released Tuesday suggested that the economy in Britain did not begin 2018 as badly as portrayed by early official data.

The ONS published its latest figures for foreign nationals’ employment and for it productivity, which is a problem for the long term for the economy of Britain.

Per hour output was down by 0.5% on the quarter-on-quarter for the three months in March after a rise of 0.7% during the 2017 fourth quarter, which marked the largest drop since late in 2015 and hurt the hopes that productivity in Britain was returning to form.

Less than 12 months before Britain exits the European Union, the number of EU nationals employed in the UK dropped by 1.2% from the same time one year ago to just over 2.29 million, the largest drop in percentage for the last eight years.



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