Official figures show that wage growth has slowed again in the UK job market, but continues to outpace inflation.
According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), salaries excluding bonuses increased by 6.2% in the last three months of 2023 compared to the same period last year.
Salaries increased by 1.9% after taking into account price increases.
But the statistical watchdog said it could not guarantee the reliability of the job market data.
The Office for Statistics and Regulation suspended the Labor Force Survey in the fall, citing declining response rates. A fully updated survey will not be conducted until September.
Bank of England Governor Andrew Bailey said ONS statistics are the only way the central bank measures unemployment, so the current unreliability of the statistics comes as policymakers consider what to do about interest rates in the coming months. “This is causing challenges,” he said.
Wage growth has slowed from last summer's peak and job openings are falling as rising interest rates hurt businesses and households.
According to the latest statistics, the number of job openings fell by 26,000 to 932,000 in the three months to January, the 19th consecutive decline.
However, there were some signs that the downward trend in job openings may be slowing.
The latest unemployment statistics suggest that the job market remains fairly resilient.
The UK-wide unemployment rate fell to 3.8% in the last three months of 2023, down from 3.9% in the three months to November. This was the lowest level since November 2022 to January 2023.
Prime Minister Jeremy Hunt said: “It's good news that real wages have risen for the sixth month in a row and unemployment remains low, but the job is not done yet.
“Our tax cuts are part of a plan to get people back to work to enable economic growth, but we must stick to them.”