New figures published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) this week have revealed that UK productivity has increased sharply in the last two quarters, while wage growth experienced a sudden surge in the three months to December.
The research suggests that output per hour rose by 0.9 per cent in the three months to September 2017 and 0.8 per cent in the three months to December 2017.
Meanwhile, wages were up by 2.5 per cent at the end of the year, the ONS’ report reveals. This figure includes bonuses, it said.
Conversely, unemployment rose during the same period – but only by 0.1 per cent.
The ONS said that this was likely due to an increase in ‘economically inactive people’ – i.e. those who are neither working nor actively looking for a job.
Overall, commentators have welcomed the statistics, noting that the growth in productivity, in particular, will encourage policy makers and businesses alike.
However, despite the rise in average wages, experts have been keen to point out that many British households are still under financial pressure – and that this could be exacerbated if the Bank of England moves to increase interest rates later in the year.
Earlier this month, the Bank indicated that it intended to increase its base rate much more quickly than previously anticipated over the next few months.
Rumours suggest that a rate rise could be on the cards for as early as the spring.