Rising unemployment and weak wage growth erodes family spending power
£1 a week fall in discretionary household income for UK families last month says Asda Income Tracker – the first decline in 12 months
- The average UK family had £152 a week of discretionary income in March 2013, down £1 a week from the same month last year and £7 a week from March 2011
- Rising unemployment and the lowest regular wage growth on record were both key factors in the fall in family spending power in March
- Soaring energy prices continue to squeeze household budgets, with the price of gas up 7.6% year-on-year
- Good news for households in the North East however, with discretionary income rising by over £1 a week to £128 – the fastest annual growth in the UK
The latest Asda Income Tracker has revealed that family spending power fell by £1 a week year on year in March 2013 – driven by a sharp increase in unemployment and the weakest wage growth on record.
According to the latest figures, released today (Friday 19th April), the average UK family had £152 of weekly discretionary income available to them in March 2013, 0.7% down from the same time last year – reversing 12 months of growth. UK families were £7 a week worse off in March 2013 compared to the same month two years ago.
A weak increase in the average UK wage was the primary driver behind this fall, with average pay up just 1% over the year to February. This was a third of the rate of essential item inflation (3%) and the lowest rise on record since the Office for National Statistics began collecting comparable figures in 2001.
Unemployment in the UK also jumped 70,000 over the last quarter to 2.56 million, pushing the jobless rate up to 7.9% – the largest rise since the summer of 2012. According to the most recent figures, over 90,000 people have now been out of work for more than a year, an 8,000 increase on the previous quarter, while the number of unemployed 16 to 24-year-olds rose by 20,000 to almost one million.
To read the full report, please visit Asda’s Income Tracker mini-site.