David Blanchflower Professor of economics at Dartmouth College, New Hampshire, and former member of the Bank’s MPC from June 2006 to May 2009 The big economic stories this month were about prices, wages and spending and a decline in the number of workers in the UK from the EU. Inflation continued to rise in January, with the consumer prices index hitting 1.8%, the highest since June 2014 as fuel prices surged and the food price deflation enjoyed by shoppers in recent years continued to disappear. The weak pound continued to raise manufacturers’ fuel and material costs which rose at the fastest pace for more than eight years. But more importantly the retail prices index measure of inflation, which is used in wage settlements, rose by 2.6%. This matters when the latest data on wage growth of total earnings showed a dramatic slowing from 2.9% in November to 1.9% in December. So prices are rising faster than wages. As a consequence, this month real earnings, measured in constant 2000 prices, fell from £343 to £341 a week. The buying power of a pay packet is down more than 4% from its pre-recession peak of £356 a week in April 2008. Hurt… Read full this story
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