Friday, December 14, 2018


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An employee works on a flax winding machine.

PHILIPPE HUGUEN | AFP | Getty Images
An employee works on a flax winding machine.

Global wage growth fell to its lowest in almost a decade last year, with the U.K. seeing weaker wage growth than any other advanced G-20 nation.

Published Monday, the International Labour Organization (ILO)’s Global Wage Report found that international wage growth saw a 0.6 percent decline in 2017, based on data from 136 countries.

Since 2009, the U.K. has seen weaker wage growth than any other advanced G-20 country, the report showed, with wage growth stagnating between 2016 and 2017. U.S. wage growth remained positive, but fell behind the growth rates seen in South Korea, Germany and Australia in 2017.

Collectively, advanced G-20 nations saw wage growth fall from 0.9 percent to 0.4 percent between 2016 and 2017, while emerging and developing G-20 countries saw wage growth fall from 4.9 percent to 4.3 percent.

While average wages in emerging and developing G-20 countries almost tripled over the last 20 years, they only grew by 9 percent in advanced G-20 economies.

Wage inequality between genders was also flagged as an issue, particularly in low and middle-income economies. The ILO said in these nations, wages were frequently insufficient to cover workers’ needs or provide for families.

ILO Director General Guy Ryder said wage growth was generally seeing a continuous slowdown.

“It’s puzzling that in high-income economies we see slow wage growth alongside a recovery in GDP growth and falling unemployment — and early indications suggest that slow wage growth continues in 2018,” he said in a press release.

“Countries should explore, with their social partners, ways to achieve socially and economically sustainable wage growth.”

Earlier this week, a study suggested that wage growth could slow in the U.S. if Trump pushed ahead with tariffs on Chinese goods — costing households up to $2,400 next year and as much as $17,300 by 2030.

German Economy Minister Peter Altmaier told CNBC’s Annette Weisbach last week that multilateralism and lower tariffs were essential to maintain global economic growth.

The wages analyzed by the ILO were adjusted for inflation.

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