Wallet (3)

Wages grew faster than expected between February and April despite slower economic growth, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

Compared with the same period last year, pay was up 3.4%. The ONS revealed that once inflation was taken into account, real-term wage growth was at 1.4%.

It comes amid a backdrop of low economic growth. On Monday, the ONS reported that the UK economy shrank by 0.4% in April, resulting in growth of just 0.3% for the three-month period.

It also reported that the UK’s unemployment rate remained at 3.8% during the period, with the employment rate for women hitting a record high of 72%. It comes as fewer people are retiring due to the state pension age being raised from 60 to 65.

Matt Hughes, deputy head of labour market statistics at the ONS, said: “With employment growth among women coming from full-timers, the overall gap between men and women in hours worked is now the lowest ever – women now average about three-quarters of men’s weekly hours, compared with around two-thirds 25 years ago.”