The latest figures from the Central Statistics Office (CSO) show that the unemployment rate fell to 5.6% in February, down from a revised 5.7% in January, and 5.8% 12 months ago. The seasonally adjusted number of people unemployed fell by 1,700 between January and February.
Global job site Indeed say the continuing decline in the rate of unemployment is creating an increasingly competitive labour market that is likely to spur further wage growth.
Average weekly earnings in the final quarter of 2018 were up 4.1% on the prior year according to recent CSO data. This was an acceleration in the pace of growth, that looks set to persist if the current trend of falling unemployment continues.
Ineed believes with inflation remaining low these increases will translate into real wage growth and are likely to feed through into increased consumer spending and confidence.
However, pay is not growing uniformly across all jobs. Indeed’s data shows that salaries posted in job ads that employers use to attract new hires have grown particularly strongly in the past year in occupations related to construction (+6.2%), transportation (+6.8%), and architecture & engineering (+8.1%).
Growing wage pressure in the construction sector is further evidenced by the latest pay claim from construction sector unions, who are looking for a 12% increase over three years; and recently the Construction Industry Federation said that nine of ten companies in the sector are struggling to recruit skilled workers.
Indeed’s review of the top 10 job categories seeing wage growth in the past year sees truck drivers, surveyors and financial managers amongst the top performers.
Commenting on the data, Economist at Indeed, Pawel Adrjan said, "Workers will be hoping that these gains continue into 2019, and all the evidence suggests it will, with the one caveat that in event of a no deal Brexit there remains considerable downside risk to economic growth and employment, that would almost certainly cause wage growth to soften."