At first glance, the latest ONS figures bring a number of encouraging headlines; including a rise in real wages for the first time in 12 months, the lowest unemployment rate since 1975 and the number of people in work reaching a record high.
This isn’t unexpected - economists predicted that the figures would bring positive news, and although wages didn’t increase by the forecasted 3%, at 2.8%, just ahead of the 2.7% inflation rate, they have grown just enough to still have a positive impact on the average household income. While wages have a long way to go to catch up with 2007 figures, considering the continuing Brexit uncertainty as we pass the first anniversary of the vote, this is nevertheless a welcome sight.
Unemployment falling by 16,000 between December and February to 4.2% is also good news, although it is worth noting that in Wales, the figure still stands at 4.6% which is higher than most other UK regions. However, with a minimal drop of only -0.3% in the last three months, regionally, Wales is staying strong.
Today’s figures show that we are continuing to move in the right direction - the fact that economists’ pre-announcement predictions meant that the pound reached a post-Brexit high, is a welcome sign that the confidence in our economy is improving.
Here at Acorn, we remain confident that there are significant numbers of quality temporary and permanent roles available within the employment market, and we look forward to seeing this develop as we move further into 2018.