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Wage growth slows to worst rate since 2008 crisis: UN agency

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GENEVA: Wage growth last year slowed to its lowest rate since 2008, the year of the financial crisis, despite solid economic growth and falling unemployment in major economies, the International Labour Organization (ILO) said yesterday.

The latest global wage report from the United Nations agency also found that women worldwide continue to be paid about 20 per cent less than men.

Based on data from 136 countries, ILO said wage growth fell from 2.4 per cent in 2016 to 1.8 per cent last year.

But the outlook for workers is bleaker when the calculations exclude China, where a massive population and steadily rising wages heavily influence the data.

Discounting China, wages rose only 1.1 per cent last year, compared with 1.8 per cent in 2016.

Consistent with recent trends, the report also highlighted substantial differences between high-income and developing countries.

In what ILO calls "emerging and developing G20 economies", wages have almost trippled in the last 20 years, including 4.3-per cent-growth last year.

But in advanced G20 nations, wages have risen by a meagre nine per cent over the past two decades and basically flatlined last year, with a rise of just 0.04 per cent.

Those figures, against the backdrop of rising economic growth and falling unemployment in high-income countries is "puzzling", ILO director-general Guy Ryder said.

Mr Ryder also called the persistent gender pay gaps "one of today's greatest manifestations of social injustice".

"All countries should try to better understand what lies behind (the pay gap) and accelerate progress towards gender equality," he said. - AFP