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Real pay continues to fall as prices rise

Labour market data show total pay (including bonuses) for employees rose by 5.8% in January to March 2023. Regular pay (excluding bonuses) rose by 6.7%.

However, in real terms (adjusted for inflation) growth in total pay fell by 3.0% and regular pay dropped by 2.0% over the same period.

There were 556,000 working days lost because of labour disputes in March 2023, up from 332,000 in February 2023.

The redundancy rate was 2.8 per 1,000 employees in January to March 2023, down from 3.5 in October to December 2022.

When comparing quarterly changes, we compare with the previous non-overlapping 3-month average time period.

The UK employment rate was estimated at 75.9% in January to March 2023, 0.2 percentage points higher than October to December 2022.

This increase was driven by part-time employees and self-employed workers.

The unemployment rate for January to March 2023 increased by 0.1 percentage points on the quarter to 3.9%. The increase was largely driven by people unemployed for over 12 months.

Flow estimates show that, between October to December 2022 and January to March 2023, there was a record high number of people coming out of economic inactivity. This was driven by moves into employment.

However, those inactive because of long-term sickness reached a record high.

The number of job vacancies in the UK fell by 55,000 over the quarter in February to April 2023, to 1.083 million. This was the tenth consecutive quarterly fall in vacancies, with survey respondents citing economic pressures as a factor holding back recruitment

The most recent estimate of payrolled employees for April 2023 shows a fall of 136,000 on the revised March 2023 figures, to 29.8 million. This is the first fall in payrolled employees since the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, but is a provisional estimate and subject to revision.

Pay disputes have been the most common cause of strikes between 1999 and 2018, accounting for 75% of all working days lost because of workplace disputes. We have published an article exploring the impact of strikes in the UK between June 2022 and February 2023.

How this affects you

What are your wages worth?
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