From the TUC

Stats watchdog confirms that 4.1% does NOT “typically represent” pay rises

24 Mar 2015, by in Economics

The UK Statistics Authority has now responded to TUC analysis on earnings estimates for those in continuous employment.

We argued that newly calculated figures showing annual earnings growth of 2.3% for those in continuous employment (in their March Economic Review), was likely to be more representative than an earlier figure of 4.1% published with ASHE data in November 2014.

While we full-well understand and accept that the figures are constructed on a different basis, our objection was always that the 4.1% figure was being used as typical and representative, not least by politicians.

Sir Andrew Dilnot is unequivocal: 

“It does not typically represent the pay rise that most people in employment would actually experience during that period”.

He also observes of the Treasury deployment of the figure in the December 2014 Autumn Statement:

“I agree that the passage you [the TUC] highlight does not make the precise interpretation of the 4.1% figure particularly clear”.

In fact it looks like the Treasury has been paying attention: the analysis was not repeated in the Budget.  They should always keep in mind Sir Andrew’s closing statement:

“More broadly, I conclude that, given the range of important and interesting statistics in this area, it is especially important that users describe them precisely”.