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Covid pandemic contributes to biggest earnings slump in Northern Ireland for two decades

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The Covid-19 pandemic has contributed to the biggest earnings slump here for two decades.

The Covid-19 pandemic has contributed to the biggest earnings slump here for two decades.

The Covid-19 pandemic has contributed to the biggest earnings slump here for two decades.

Wages in Northern Ireland are now £529 per week after the Covid-19 pandemic contributed to the biggest earnings slump here for two decades, according to a report.

The fall in median wage packets is felt more keenly by private sector workers, whose weekly pay was down by 3.2% to £463 per week.

In contrast, weekly earnings in the public sector had fallen by 0.9% to £619.

Skilled trade occupations were the category of job which saw the worst fall in weekly wages.

The median hourly pay here is £11.98, the lowest of all UK regions and £1.70 below the UK median of £13.68. That 14% pay gap with the UK as a whole is the highest in 20 years.

Economist Dr Lisa Wilson of think-tank the Nevin Economic Research Institute said: “The occupational and sectoral impacts of Covid have never been as starkly visible for Northern Ireland.”

However, yearly salaries had grown by 3.2% for all full-time employees to a median of £28,000 though that was below the UK median of £31,000.

The NI Statistics and Research Agency’s Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings (ASHE) also reveals that one in 10 jobs here is now paid at a rate below the national minimum and national living wage.

That’s up from one in 100 last year and reflects the impact of the government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) - which has paid employees at 80% of their usual wages where they haven’t been able to work due to the coronavirus pandemic. It has now been extended to the beginning of December.

ASHE has reported on on employee wages here over a pay period including April 22.

It reveals a nominal decrease of 1.1% in median weekly wages here to £529 per week, down from £535.

That is the biggest decrease in 20 years - a period in which wages have fallen only three times.

But in real terms, there had been a fall of 2% which Nisra said brought wages down to 2010 levels.

Pay decreases across 16 industry groups decreases were bigger than any reported increases.

However, women out-earned men by 3.6% when it came to full-time earnings - but the gender pay gap is reversed when part-time earnings are included, as there are more women than men in part-time roles.

Nisra said that a larger proportion of women than men work in highly-paid occupations and there is also a larger proportion of women working in the public sector.

Full-time employees in Belfast had the highest wages, at an average of £585 per week - £135 more than the median weekly wages for those working in the worst local government district pay of Causeway Coast and Glens. Median weekly wages there were £450.

Belfast Telegraph


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