Magazine article Public Finance

Numbers Game

Magazine article Public Finance

Numbers Game

Article excerpt

The UK economy continues to show robust health, with the jobless total falling to a five-year low and average earnings growth finally matching increases in inflation.

Unemployment fell by 77,000 to reach 2,243,000 in the quarter to February 2014. Meanwhile, employment hit a record of30,389,000, an increase of239,000 on the quarter and 691,000 on the year.

Chancellor George Osborne said the improved job numbers were 'compelling evidence' that the coalition's economic plan was working and reiterated his commitment to 'full employment'.

Those in work were buoyed by the news that average weekly earnings rose by 1.7% in the year to February 2014 (comparing the relevant quarters). Over the same period, the Consumer Prices Index also reached 1.7%.

The Office for National Statistics said that this was the first time in four years that the CPI increase had not been greater than the annual increase in total pay.

CPI inflation actually fell further in March to 16% - the sixth consecutive month that the rate has fallen. …

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