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BRC: Retail employment in the UK continues to fall

Laura  Barnes
BRC: Retail employment in the UK continues to fall

Despite the latest ONS labour market figures revealing that there’s a new record low for unemployment in the UK, the retail sector is still struggling.

Retail employment continues to fall, but at the same time, wages are growing rapidly.

The British Retail Consortium’s (BRC) head of retail insight and analytics, Rachel Lund, offered her insight into the latest statistics.

"Today's figures show a new record low for unemployment (at 4.3 per cent), as the UK jobs generating machine continues at full steam. However, wage growth remains slower than inflation, leaving the average UK household with lower spending power in real terms than this time last year,” said Lund.
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"However, the situation in the retail industry itself could not be more different. Today’s ONS figures confirmed that employment in retail continues to fall, with jobs down 0.5% on last year. At the same time wages are growing rapidly.”

The latest data from the BRC show that average wages in retail grew 3.4% over the year to March 2017, compared to the 2.1% we saw for the UK as a whole today and the 1.7% for the UK over the year to March.

Lund explained that even higher growth in wages is expected over the coming year.

"The fact is that, unlike the UK as a whole, retail is experiencing rapid productivity gains, both as technology is transforming the way we shop in the UK and as retailers are re-shaping careers in the industry towards better quality roles with people equipped with the skills to operate in this new era of retailing,” she said.

Tags: Retail , brc , ONS , retail employment

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