UK wage growth rises faster than expected

UK wage growth beat market and economist expectations in the three months to April, with pay rising by 3.4% compared to a year ago.

After inflation, wage growth was 1.4%. Meanwhile, the unemployment rate remained at 3.8%, the lowest rate since 1974, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

The employment rate for women was the highest on record at 72%, following changes to the state pension age meaning that fewer women retire before turning 65. Female employment rose by 60,000 compared with the previous quarter, while male employment fell by 27,000.

PwC chief economist John Hawksworth said the data was "interesting", adding;

"This is consistent with a longer-term trend towards a narrowing gender employment gap.

"Male employment is still higher at around 80%, but this is well below its historical highs of over 90% back in the 1970s."

Despite the rise in wages, many may not feel the extra change in their pockets - stripping out inflation shows real wages remain on average just below pre-financial crash levels.

According to the ONS, wage rises were most notable in the construction and financial services industries.

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