Average earnings in the UK grew at an annual rate of 2.2% in September, data on Wednesday showed, continuing to lag inflation and keeping the pressure on UK household budgets.
Average annual earnings growth including bonuses stood at 2.2% in September, down from an upwardly revised 2.3% in August, and higher than the dip to 2.1% predicted by analysts.
Consumer price inflation
When compared to rising consumer prices, however, wage growth remained limp and kept up the pressure on household finances.
Data on Tuesday had shown that the annual rate of inflation, as measured by the consumer price index (CPI), eased to 3% in October, from 3.1% in September.
This indicated that the gap between wages and inflation was beginning to narrow, but at 0.8% remains a significant barrier to consumer confidence. Indeed, recent data from official sources, stores and retail lobby groups, have shown retail sales to be slowing as price pressures mount.
Meanwhile, the labour market continued to perform at a robust rate, with the claimant count rising by just 1,100 in October, after an increase of 2,600 in the previous month.
The rate of unemployment remained at a four-decade low of 4.3%.
"We still expect a pick-up in wage growth ahead, in line with the Recruitment and Employment Confederation permanent salaries survey and the Bank of England's agents' reports of increasing difficulty hiring," said Andrew Wishart at Capital Economics.
Hamish Muress at OFX added: "The Bank of England will be relieved to see the gap between wage growth and inflation narrow, but may now be asking whether the UK has reached its maximum employment rate. If this is the case, then wage growth could accelerate further in 2018."
UK stocks were lower with the FTSE 100 down 0.32% at 7,390, while the pound also lost ground on fears that any further rate hikes would further deter consumer spending.
Against the dollar, the pound eased 0.18% to $1.3141 and against the euro, the pound fell 0.57% to €1.1095.