Press Release: NIESR Monthly Wage Tracker - Slight Rebound Expected for Earnings Growth

Published: 18th February 2020


Main points

  • According to new ONS statistics published this morning, UK average weekly earnings (AWE) expanded by 3.2 per cent excluding bonuses in the three months to December 2019 compared to the year before, and by 2.9 per cent if bonus payments are taken into account (figure 1).
  • Earnings growth in the public sector was in line with forecasts published in our Wage Tracker one month ago while private sector outturns were slightly weaker than forecast, mainly because of smaller bonus payments in December last year.
  • With CPI inflation at 1.4 per cent in the three months to December, real wages grew at an annual rate of 1.8 per cent over the same period excluding bonus payments (1.4 per cent including bonuses).
  • The Wage Tracker indicates that nominal earnings growth excluding bonuses will be 3½ per cent in the first quarter of 2020 and just above 3 per cent including bonuses.
  • Based on NIESR Wage Tracker and GDP Tracker information, we estimate unit labour cost growth eased to around 3 per cent per annum in the fourth quarter and is expected to stay at this rate in the first quarter of 2020.

“We expect the recent slowing in earnings growth since June 2019 to be temporary as there is little slack in the labour market.  But even then the level of real average weekly earnings has remarkably only just returned to its 2008 level, which reflects the enduring severity of the financial crisis on the average British worker.”

Cyrille Lenoel
Senior Economist in Macroeconomic Modelling and Forecasting

Please find the full analysis in the document attached


Notes for editors:

For further information please contact the NIESR Press Office: Phil Thornton on p.thornton [at]  / 0207 654 1954

National Institute of Economic and Social Research
2 Dean Trench Street
Smith Square
London, SW1P 3HE
United Kingdom

Switchboard Telephone Number: 020 7222 7665


Press release archive