Consumers pay more for less as ‘shrinkflation’ trend continues

Reuters

Reuters

Britain's labour market has delivered a record high on employment and a record low on economic inactivity, according to the latest ONS figures.

The number of unemployed in this period was estimated at 1.37 million people, little changed compared with June to August 2018 but 68,000 fewer than a year earlier.

However, the ONS says that there was no evidence to suggest that Brexit is directly to blame for shrinkflation.

The number of people in work has also risen to record levels in a further sign the economy is in rude health as we prepare to leave the EU.

"Meanwhile, the share of the workforce looking for work and unable to find it remains at its lowest for over 40 years, helped by a record number of job vacancies".

"The recent pick-up in salaries, coupled with the fall in inflation, will be welcomed by households, though the hangover of weak real wage growth over the past 18 months will continue to be felt on the high street for the time being".

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Furthermore, the number of British people in employment has increased by 141,000 to hit a record high of 32.54 million in the three months to November, the ONS said.

However, Dr Carole Easton OBE, Chief Executive of Young Women's Trust said, "Today's record high United Kingdom employment figures are welcome news but unemployment among young women has risen by 27,000 since the previous quarter".

Alok Sharma, employment minister said, "Our pro-business policies have helped boost private sector employment by 3.8m since 2010, and as the Resolution Foundation's latest report shows, the "jobs-boom has helped some of the most disadvantaged groups find employment", providing opportunities across society".

Excluding bonuses, average pay was up by 3.3 per cent to £494, or £25,688 a year - the biggest increase since 2008. "Nonetheless, the labour market now looks tight enough to ensure that wage growth does not slip below the 3% mark".

The figures were greeted positively by financial markets as the Brexit-hit pound strengthened against both the dollar and the euro - climbing back above $1.29 versus the greenback to its highest level since November.

He added: "Once uncertainty over the future of the UK's relationship with the European Union clears, the Bank of England will likely be called into action and resume their (interest rates) hiking cycle. While the momentum behind wage growth may build support for interest rate hikes, Brexit remains the spanner in the works for the MPC".

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