Responding to today’s employment and wage figures released by the Office for National Statistics which showed the unemployment rate falling to 5.5% and wages including bonuses growing at 1.9% over the past year, James Sproule, the IoD’s Chief Economist said:
“These figures are welcome evidence that British businesses continue to power the economic recovery. Employment continues to grow, unemployment continues to fall, and wages continue to rise.
“It is particularly encouraging to see another period of wages rising above inflation. During the downturn preserving jobs was the priority for employers and employees. Now that the economy is growing, employees are naturally looking for real terms increases in their salaries. Crucially, IoD members tell us that they are able to increase wages because of improved corporate performance, meaning these wage increases are sustainable. This all points to growing consumer confidence and associated spending that does not undermine UK competitiveness.
“While the low inflation seen in recent quarters is good news for the UK economy, it will not last forever. The sun is shining, now is the time to fix the fiscal roof. Government needs to continue to consolidate its finances at a time when businesses are able to provide ample opportunities for British workers. We welcome the Government’s commitment to make job creation one of its priorities for the next five years. This will only be achieved in the long-term by supporting the businesses who create those jobs and ensuring that complex taxes and excessive regulation do not inhibit growth.”