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Brits better paid, despite gloom

Britons are enjoying better pay generally, despite all the economic fears of Brexit. Workers’ basic pay is growing at the fastest rate in cash terms for more than a decade as the British labour market continues to defy the slowdown in the economy.

Despite some signs of weakness, the latest data from the Office for National Statistics showed annual average earnings growth at 3.6 percent in the three months to May – comfortably exceeding the increase in the cost of living.

The ONS said that between March and May – a period that saw the UK gripped by Brexit uncertainty – there had been a small rise in employment and that the jobless rate had remained at 3.8 percent – its lowest level since the mid-1970s.

Recent surveys of the economy have painted a bleak picture of mothballed investment and empty high streets, but unemployment as measured by the internationally agreed yardstick fell by 51,000 over the quarter to stand at 1,292,000.

The official data picked up some signs that the UK’s jobs boom is fading, with employment rising by just 28,000 in the latest quarter. There was a fall of 58,000 in full-time employment, offset by an 86,000 increase in part-time work. A rising working-age population meant the employment rate fell slightly.

The employment minister, Alok Sharma, said: “Wages outpacing inflation for 16 months in a row, more people in work than ever before and joint-record female employment, means better prospects for many thousands of UK families and shows the continued resilience of the UK labour market.”

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