Wage growth stays strong as unemployment falls

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Wages have continued to grow at a strong pace and employment remains at record highs, official figures show.

Earnings excluding bonuses grew at an annual pace of 3.8% in the April to July period, down slightly from the previous reading.

Including bonuses, wages rose at an annual pace of 4% – the highest rate since mid-2008.

The unemployment rate dipped to 3.8%, while the estimated employment rate remained at a record 76.1%.

There was a total of 32.78 million people aged 16 or over in employment.

The increase in employment has been mainly driven by more women in work, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said, which is party down to the rise in the state pension age, meaning fewer retire between the ages of 60 and 65.

There was a rise of 284,000 employed women on the year to a total of 15.52 million.

Male employment also rose by 86,000 on the year to reach 17.26 million, mainly because of rising numbers of self-employed.

ONS head of labour market statistics David Freeman added: “The employment rate has remained fairly constant at a joint record high for some months now, while the unemployment rate was last lower at the end of 1974.

“Vacancies continue to fall back from recent record highs, with much of this decline coming from small businesses.”

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