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Unemployment falls to 2.24 million people

Unemployment fell by 77,000 between December and February to 2.24 million, official figures showed today.

The number of people claiming Jobseeker's Allowance last month also fell by 30,400 to 1.14 million, said the Office for National Statistics.

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Wages rise by 1.7% and over the rate of inflation

Average earnings increased by 1.7% in the year to February, above the CPI inflation rate of 1.6%.

The increase in earnings will be the first time in six years that the average wage has risen above the consumer price index (CPI), which stands at 1.6% for 2014.

Read More: Wages expected to surpass inflation for first time in 6 years

UK wages expected to surpass inflation

Wages are expected to surpass inflation today for the first time in six years.

On Tuesday the Consumer Prices Index (CPI) rate dropped to a new four-year low of 1.6%.

ONS figures are expected to show wages have surpassed inflation for the first time in six years. Credit: Press Association

ONS labour market statistics are expected to show that regular pay is rising at a rate of 1.8%, up from 1.3%.

Read more: Inflation is falling, slowly but surely

Decline in wages puts UK workers in bottom four

Britain is fourth for the sharpest fall in wages in Europe - only Greece, Portugal and the Netherlands have suffered larger declines.

House of Commons library figures show there has been a 5.5% reduction in average hourly wages since mid-2010. It means British workers have felt the squeeze more than those in countries which have been rocked by the eurozone crisis.

Meanwhile, Bulgaria had the biggest increase of hourly wages at 13.2%. Also, Germany saw a 2.7% rise.

UK wages 'suffer one of sharpest falls in the EU'

The value of UK workers' wages has suffered one of the sharpest falls in the European Union, House of Commons library figures have shown.

The 5.5% reduction in average hourly wages since mid-2010, adjusted for inflation, means British workers have felt the squeeze more than those in countries which have been rocked by the eurozone crisis.

British workers have suffered a 5.5% reduction in average hourly wages since mid-2010. Credit: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire/Press Association Images

Only the Greeks, Portuguese and Dutch have had a steeper decline, the analysis showed, while in Germany hourly wages rose by 2.7% over the same period and in France there was a 0.4% increase.

Across the EU as a whole the average fall in wages, adjusted for the European Central Bank' s harmonised index of consumer prices, was -0.7% and in the eurozone area it was -0.1%.

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Northern Ireland has highest proportion of 'working poor'

Almost a quarter of people of people working in Northern Ireland earn less than £7.20 an hour, according to a new study by KPMG. Northern Ireland is followed closely by Wales, where 23% of people do not earn the living wage:

  • 24% of people working in Northern Ireland earn less than £7.20 per hour
  • 23% of people working in Wales earn less than £7.20 per hour
  • 16% of people working in London earn less than £8.30 per hour
  • 16% of people working in the South east earn less than £7.20 per hour

70% of cleaners and florists paid less than the living wage

70% of cleaners and florists do not earn the 'living wage' according to new research Credit: Press Association

Almost three-quarters of people working as cleaners or florists do not earn the living wage, according to new research by accounting firm KPMG.

70% of cleaners and florists less than £8.30 a hour in London, or £7.20 an hour in the rest of the UK.

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