UK average wage growth finally beats inflation Average wage growth in the UK finally rose above the inflation rate in the year to September, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS). With the Consumer Prices Index (CPI) at just 1.0% in October, wages excluding bonuses, rose by 1.4% in the same period. This is the first time that wage growth has outstripped inflation since 2009, as whilst it stagnated as a result of the global financial crisis, over the last few months wage growth has been rising at the same time as inflation been declining. The ONS also stated that there were now 30.7 million people in employment in the UK, which is the highest number seen since records began back in 1971. This news was welcomed by the Work and Pensions Secretary, Iain Duncan Smith, who said this recent turn of events was “remarkable”. At the same time, Esther McVey, the Employment Minister, commented: “Record numbers of people in work means more people with the security of a regular wage who are better able to support themselves and their families. “With the vast majority of the rise in employment over the last year being full-time, it’s clear that thanks to the government’s long-term economic plan, we are helping businesses to create the jobs that people need.” Reinforcing this bullish development, a Deputy Governor of the Bank of England, Ben Broadbent, believes that this trend of higher wages will continue to outpace inflation beyond the end of 2014 and well into 2015. In their latest inflation report (for which they are held accountable for by the Government) they state that by their estimates CPI could fall below 1% in 2015 and they see wages growth to rise to about 3%.
Markets (November) (Data supplied by the Outsourced Marketing Department) After October’s market volatility, some confidence returned to the equity markets in November, buoyed by the continuing fall in global energy prices. The FTSE100 edged up 2.69% to close November at 6,722.6, with the wider FTSE250 following suit, rising 2.26% to 15,851.76. The junior AIM market trod water, finishing the month at 725.66, up a marginal 0.76%. Across the pond and reflecting the strong performance of the US economy, the Dow Jones index gained a similar 2.52%, closing out at 17,828.24, and the technology based Nasdaq up 3.47% to 4,791.63. Continuing this positive trend, the eurozone saw renewed investor demand, as the Eurostoxx50 climbed to 3,250.93, to record a strong gain of 5.45%. Star of the show, however, was the Nikkei225, as continuing fiscal easing from the Bank of Japan drove the index 11.51% higher to close the month at 17,459.85. On the foreign exchange markets Sterling continued to lose admirers, falling by just over 2% against the US Dollar to finish the month at $1.57. It also lost ground against the Euro, finishing at €1.26, down 1.72%. Meanwhile, the Euro itself was virtually unchanged against the US Dollar at $1.25. Oil has had a turbulent month with the benchmark Brent Crude price dropping to $70.15 a barrel and the US West Texas Intermediate benchmark price dropping further to $66.15 a barrel. This is due to global oversupply, with Saudi Arabia (and thus OPEC) declining to reduce production levels and a continuing drop in demand from China and other developing economies. Given this scenario the market sees further price declines possible in the coming months. Gold had a quiet month, ending little changed on $1,165.33 per troy ounce, down just 0.62%. Download full report here

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