New figures show that wage growth in the UK is picking up and as we all get ready for the festive break, it is heartening for the year ahead.

The  numbers from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) indicate in the August to October period average earnings excluding bonuses were up 1.6% from a year earlier. Including bonuses, earnings rose by 1.4%.

More importantly it is the first time for six years that both measures of earnings growth have been above the inflation rate.

To add to this the number of people unemployed in the quarter fell by 63,000 to 1.96 million and the jobless rate was 6%, matching its lowest level in six years.

The figures also showed that there were 30.80 million people in work in the three-month period, 115,000 more than for the May-to-July period, driven by more people in full-time work.

Also keeping the good news the number of people claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance in November fell by 26,900 to 900,100.

To quote Howard Archer, economist at HIS Global Insight:“Earnings growth is finally starting to open a clear positive gap over inflation, which is serious good news for consumers,”


Mr Archer said this bodes well for consumer spending in 2015, although it needs to be borne in mind that consumers have faced a prolonged squeeze on their purchasing power.


Along with other economist he said the labour market is still seeing decent improvement, although the underlying rate of improvement is showing signs of moderation.

On Tuesday figures showed the UK’s rate of inflation fell to a 12-year low of 1% in November, from 1.3% in October.

So as most of us prepare to switch off for a week of fun and festive frolics we can rest assured that whilst in such a globally interlinked nothing is ever certain, the omens do look good.

Growth is all about confidence and it is heartening as we get ready to sign off for 2014 there is plenty of reason for business optimism.