U.K. Wage Squeeze Continued in October

By Wiktor Szary and Jason Douglas Features Dow Jones Newswires

British workers' wages adjusted for inflation fell again in the three months' through October despite the U.K.'s robust labor market, highlighting the ongoing consumer squeeze evident since last year's Brexit vote.

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The U.K. unemployment rate stood at 4.3% in the August-October period, a more-than four-decade low and unchanged from the previous month's figure. Economists polled by The Wall Street Journal forecast a 0.1 percentage-point decline in the unemployment rate.

But Britons' pay packets adjusted for inflation fell by 0.4% in that time, marking the eighth consecutive period of falling real wages.

The decline in consumers' spending power could spell trouble for the largely domestic-driven U.K. economy, which has already slowed this year as consumers have pared back spending.

The economy expanded by 0.4% on the year in the third quarter, a slight improvement on the previous two quarters, but still significantly below the rate of growth seen last year.

Inflation, meanwhile, hit 3.1% in November, official data showed earlier this week, the fastest pace of price growth in nearly six years.

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The figures, published by the Office for National Statistics on Wednesday, also showed some tentative signs of weakness in the labor market, with the number of people in employment declining for the second time in a row, by 56,000.

The number of economically inactive people--who are neither in employment nor looking for work--also increased, by 115,000.

Write to Wiktor Szary at Wiktor.Szary@wsj.com and Jason Douglas at Jason.Douglas@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

December 13, 2017 04:52 ET (09:52 GMT)