As we mentioned last week, British wage earners have had a horrific run lately. That has made their real earnings (after inflation) fall behind those of the Switzerland, Australia, Austria, France, Canada, Belgium and Sweden, according to a new analysis from the UK’s Office of National Statistics. Not to belabor the point, but we thought that this chart from economists at Barclays sums up what’s been happening nicely (it shows the percent change in wage growth over the most recent three months, versus the same period a year earlier). In an update last week, Britain’s Office of National Statistics reported that average weekly earnings growth in the UK is at its lowest level since early 2009. “This combination of slow total earnings growth and high inflation has led to a prolonged period of falling real wages, in turn depressing consumer demand,” wrote Barclays economists. British prime minister David Cameron’s effort to rein in deficits was supposed to revive the confidence of corporations and consumers. But there’s little sign of that.
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