Workers see wages fall in real terms for the 15th consecutive month

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Responding to the Labour market overview April 2023 released by the Office for National Statistics, Ben Harrison, Director of the Work Foundation, said:

“This is another challenging set of figures for workers who are seeing their wages fall in real terms for the 15th consecutive month. With inflation still high at 10.4%, it is vital public sector industrial disputes are resolved as quickly as possible to ensure those on low and insecure incomes are better able to deal with the cost of living crisis.

“Participation in the labour market remains a big issue too. While economic inactivity has fallen to 21.1% driven by a fall in the number of students, that risks masking the fact that long-term sickness continues to rise by 89,000 on the quarter. The OECD recently found that the UK has suffered the biggest decline in workforce participation of any G7 economy since the pandemic. This is a real problem for employers, as vacancies remain higher than pre-pandemic levels at 1.1 million.

“Instead of further tightening benefit sanctions – which the Government’s own research suggests doesn’t result in more people in work – the focus should be on improving the quality of jobs available. In the forthcoming King’s Speech, the Government has a final chance to introduce a new Employment Bill to strengthen job security and flexibility to attract more people back to work – it should end the delay and get on with it.”

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