Wages back above pre-economic crisis levels – peanuts!

Owl finds that the real increase in wages since the crash in 2008 isn’t peanuts. It’s far less than that. It will take an average wage earner three weeks to to buy a packet on the increase!

Andy Verity Economics Editor BBC

It’s always good to have some cheerful news to report, such as the news that wages, after stripping out the effect of inflation, have finally squeaked above their level in March 2008. In other words, your wage can finally buy a little bit more than it could before the banking crisis. So let’s celebrate. Hooray.

Now let’s home in on the amounts. The average wage excluding bonuses is now £511.61. In March 2008, the average wage would have bought you £510.96 (in 2019 prices). In other words you are 65p better off than you were – 12 years ago.

There’s always a half-full or a half-empty angle on wage increases. But to many workers, this minor economic landmark will serve less as a cause for celebration and more as a reminder that the past decade has been the worst for improvements in living standards in more than 200 years.

The 2008 crisis, caused in part by reckless mismanagement of the banks, is one reason (not the only one) that the average pay packet has failed to do what we used to take for granted – i.e. increase by more than inflation.

It used to happen every year. Low-pay think tank the Resolution Foundation points out that if pre-crisis trends for increases in pay in real terms had continued, the average wage would now be £141 a week higher.

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