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Retail prices

RPI 11.1% up from 9.0%, CPI 9.0% up from 7.0%

In April the Retail Prices Index (RPI) rose sharply to 334.6 (January 1987 = 100) raising the overall rate at which consumer prices are going up from 9.0% for the year to March, to 11.1% for April.

Whilst RPI is no longer an official statistic, union negotiators consider it the best available measure of inflation.
The annual rate of inflation under the Consumer Prices Index (CPI) in April was 9.0%, described as a '40-year high'. That was an increase from 7.0% in March.

Under the Consumer Prices Index Housing (CPIH), the annual rate of inflation in April was 7.8%, up from 6.2% in March.
The raising of the energy price cap contributed significantly and as lower-income households spend a greater proportion of their income on electricity and gas, for them the inflation rate was even higher.

Inflation figures for May 2022 are due to be published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) on 22 June.


Latest pay deals

Most recent three-monthly period, ending in April 2022

In the most recent three-monthly period, ending in April 2022, the median increase among pay deals monitored on the LRD Payline database was:

- 4.2% on lowest pay rates (the lowest basic median)

- 3.5% for most workers covered by the settlement (the standard median)

The latest trend was upwards after a slight fall at the start of 2022, and compares with median three-monthly settlement medians of 2.0% to 2.5% last summer. Over the last 12 months the median increase was

- 3.0% on lowest pay rates (the lowest basic median)

- 2.5% for most workers covered by the settlement (the standard median)

- 2.7% standard median weighted by workers covered

The chart below shows how, despite an improvement last autumn, pay settlements have not so far been able to keep pace with the steady climb in consumer price inflation.

Pay deals are calculated from Payline database of over 2,000 pay and conditions settlements. graph of pay settlements and inflation

Average earnings

Earnings growth well behind inflation, almost no growth in the public sector

Growth in average weekly regular pay (excluding bonuses) over the year to March 2022 'stalled' at 4.1%, down slightly compared with the January and February figures, despite climbing inflation (see above).

Figures for total pay were much stronger at 9.9% but reflect bonus payments that not everyone gets: according to the TUC, bonuses in the City are rising six times faster than wages.

Sectoral differences in total pay growth are stark: Finance and business services showed the largest growth rate (15.2% over the year to March, 10.7% averaged over 3 months).

Overall, total earnings in the private sector grew by 11.7% over the year to March, 8.2% averaged over 3 months. But regular earnings (excluding bonuses) rose by 4.8%.

By comparison, public sector earnings (excluding financial services companies) grew over 12 months by just 1.9% on regular pay and 1.8% on total pay.
Earnings figures will next be published by ONS on 14 June


Unemployment

The January-March unemployment rate fell by 0.3 percentage points on the quarter

For the first time since records began, there were fewer unemployed people than job vacancies which hit a new record (1.295 million).

As official unemployment fell, there were 121,000 more employees on payroll, another new record at 29.5 million.
There was also a record-high movement of people from economic inactivity into employment while total job-to-job moves also increased to a record high of 994,000.

The employment rate rose to 75,7% but total employment (including self-employed people) is still below pre-pandemic levels.

The official claimant count dropped to 1.6125 million in April (in 2020-21 it peaked at over 2.6 million).
Labour market statistics will next be available from the Office for National Statistics on 14 June.
 

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