Wage rises hit four year high

Total pay climbed by 2.7% compared with a year earlier in the three months to April,

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The National Minimum Wage Rises In October

Wage rises have reached their highest rate for nearly four years, official figures showed today.

Total pay climbed by 2.7% compared with a year earlier in the three months to April, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said.

It was the biggest rise since August 2011, and up from a revised 2.3% in the three months to March.

Ultra-low inflation - which fell to minus 0.1% in April - means the surge in pay is worth more in real terms.

The growth in real wages for the period, at 2.8%, is the highest since October 2007.

Meanwhile, the ONS figures showed unemployment fell by 43,000 to 1.81 million in the three months to April compared to the prior three months while the jobless rate was down to 5.5%, from 5.7%.

The unemployment figure was last lower in the three months to August 2008.

The number of people in work rose to 31.05 million, 114,000 more than in the three months to January.

Numbers claiming unemployment-related benefits in May - under a new measure including both those on Jobseeker's Allowance and some of those receiving Universal Credit - fell 6,500 to 791,800.

This was the smallest fall since February 2013.

ONS statistician Nick Palmer said: "Total pay is now up 2.7% on the year, the sharpest rate of growth since summer 2011.

"Meanwhile employment continues to rise and unemployment to fall, maintaining the general trend of the last three and a half years."

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