Both including and excluding bonuses the average earnings index fell to 2.6% in its most recent reading; combine that with rising inflation and real world wage growth is at a 2 year low. Elsewhere the claimant count change dropped a whopping 42.4k in January to leave the employment and unemployment rates at a record high and 11 year low respectively. Yet those figures are severely undermined by the aforementioned dip in wage growth, suggesting the quantity of jobs being created isn’t matched by their quality.
Overall the mixed nature of the jobs report meant the morning’s trading trends weren’t significantly disrupted. The FTSE continued to push around 20 points higher, struggling to break through 7300 with any force, with the pound slipping 0.3% against the dollar while sitting flat against the euro.
Looking ahead to this afternoon and there is plenty more data to come before the US session gets underway. The most important figure is inflation, which is set to remain at 0.3%; retail sales, meanwhile, are likely to fall from 0.6% to 0.1% month-on-month as consumers deal with the post-Christmas squeeze. The Empire State manufacturing index is then set to climb from 6.5 to 7.2, with industrial production forecast to drop to 0.1% from 0.8% in January. The prospect of all this has left the Dow Jones looking a bit meek before the bell, though it is still set to open at yet another 20500-plus high.