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UK regular earnings rose by an annual rate of 4.6% in the first quarter, the fastest pace since the three months to February 2008, from a downwardly-revised 4.4% gain in the previous period, the Office for National Statistics said Tuesday. Adjusting for inflation, real regular wages rose by a record high 3.6% in the first quarter.
Bonuses declined by 0.7% in the first quarter (dragged lower by a 3.9% decline in the month of February), pushing total earnings growth down to 4.0% from 4.5% in the three months to February. Given the loss of a large number of lower-paid jobs during the pandemic, national statisticians estimate the underlying rate of total nominal earnings growth at approximately 2.5%, and nominal regular earnings at roughly 3%.
Average hours worked fell to 29.4 in the first quarter, with much of the economy in lockdown from 30.2 in the closing months of 2020. The jobless rate fell to 4.6% in March, according to experimental statistics, the lowest since July 2020.