Labour market presents a series of challenges for policy-makers despite strong wage growth

Waiter cleaning a table in a restaurant with spray disinfectant.

Responding to the new Labour market overview March 2024 released by the Office for National Statistics, Ben Harrison, Director of the Work Foundation at Lancaster University said:

“Today’s labour market statistics present a series of challenges for policy-makers despite strong wage growth.

Workers will welcome the 16th consecutive month of above 6% regular pay growth, which represents 1.8% real wage growth on the year. However, most are unlikely to be feeling richer as the Office for Budget Responsibility still forecasts real wages won't get back to 2008 wage levels until 2026.

This near two-decade period of stagnating wages is likely to hit the 6.8 million people in severely insecure work hardest. They already face a financial penalty of £3,276 per year compared to those in secure work, yet the Government’s National Insurance cuts will do little to support those on the lowest incomes.

Instead of Rishi Sunak threatening to squeeze benefits further to fund more tax cuts for those on middle and high incomes, we must improve the quality and security of jobs on offer if we are to see living standards and wages rise in the years ahead.”

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