Shock toll of economy on standard of living for workers, figures show

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DRIVING instructors, chartered surveyors and travel agents are among the workers whose living standards have dropped by more than a quarter since the recession began, according to new figures.

Foundry workers have seen their income drop in real terms by between 15 and 20 per cent, metal makers by 10 to 15 per cent, and tool makers by between five and 10 per cent, according to the union the GMB.

But midwives, nurses, vets, solicitors, florists, undertakers and youth workers have suffered only a five per cent drop or less in the months between April 2007 and November this year.

The GMB studied the gross earnings of full time workers in 322 occupations throughout the almost five year period.

And while inflation has been 16.1 per cent, earnings had dropped in 277 of the professions examined - in 11 of them by up to 25 per cent.

The mean salary across all occupation groups nationally was £30,015 in 2007 and £32,837 in 2011.

Although that represented a rise of £2,822, in real terms the GMB said it equated to a 5.9 per cent drop in the actual value of earnings.

Meanwhile 26,000 public service workers lost their jobs in Yorkshire and the Humber from April 2010 to November this year.

Paul Kenny, the GMB general secretary, said: “These figures show the Government’s strategy for economic recovery is in tatters as living standards in the UK drop by 5.9 per cent.

“UK full time workers in 277 occupations have seen the value of their earnings drop when they have a job.

“Things have got a lot worse in the past year.”

The biggest drop in salary came for occupations within leisure and travel services. The mean salary in 2007 was £36,650 - but by 2011 had plunged £19,767 to just £16,883, a drop in real terms living standards of 69.2 per cent.

Silversmiths, dental nurses and train drivers maintained the same living standards throughout the study.

And 42 occupations experienced a rise in living standards, the largest being enjoyed by sports and fitness workers, who saw salaries rise 32.8 per cent from £15,864 to £23,499.