Britons see first drop in real wages since 2014

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Trades Union Congress General Secretary Frances O' Grady, on the other hand, stated that Britain could not afford another real wage slump as rising prices continue to hammer pay packets.

They reveal that the unemployment rate was at the lowest since 1975, falling from 5.1% a year ago to 4.6%, with 122,000 more people in work compared with the previous three months.

It also warned that 2017 would be "a more challenging time for British households" with inflation rising and real wages falling - leading to a consumer spending squeeze.

The Office for National Statistics said Tuesday that the annual rate is the highest since September 2013.

The UK unemployment rate has fallen to 4.6%, its lowest in 42 years, as inflation outstrips wage growth, official figures show.

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That meant regular pay, when adjusted for inflation, fell by 0.2 percent in the first three months of the year, the first fall since the third quarter of 2014.

Scotland recorded an unemployment rate of 4.4% in the first three months of this year - lower than the rest of the United Kingdom as whole - with the statistics showing employment in the country increased by 5,000.

Overall, the data is likely to bolster the BoE's view that it should keep interest rates at a record just above zero, despite the sharp rise in inflation so far this year which is likely to hit 3 percent before long, according to economists.

The ONS yesterday said that inflation hit its highest level in almost four years in April at 2.7 per cent, as sterling's weakness, electricity price hikes and rising air fares bumped up the cost of living. Surge in employment growthDutch bank ING described the rise in employment as "astonishing". The three-month on three-month average came in well above consensus, at 122,000, lifted by a huge 340,000 "single month" increase in jobs - the highest in two years. "It's also hard to ignore the fact that wages are now growing at a noticeably slower pace than prices".

Among 16 to 24 year olds, the unemployment rate was down from 13.7 per cent of March 2016, to 12.5 per cent. In comparison, average weekly earnings excluding bonuses increased by 2.1 percent. The number was 928,000 in 1997, and the proportion of non-UK nationals rose from 3.5% to 11.1% over the same period.

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