British employers hired many more workers than expected at the start of 2018 but wage growth has yet to accelerate sharply, according to data that probably do little to alter the outlook for Bank of England interest rates.
Employment in Britain rose by 1,97,000 during the first three months of this year, official data showed, the biggest jump since late 2015 and far exceeding the 1,30,000 consensus expectation of a Reuters poll of economists.
Annual growth in earnings, excluding bonuses, edged up to 2.9 per cent in the three months to March after a 2.8 per cent rise in February, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said on Tuesday, as expected in the Reuters poll.
That was the biggest increase since the three months to August 2015, but represented only a 0.4 per cent increase in pay in inflation-adjusted terms.
Last week the BoE left interest rates on hold, despite saying in February that borrowing costs were likely to go up more quickly than it had previously thought. It said that it wanted to be sure that the economy, which barely grew in the first quarter of 2018, was bouncing back.