Bank of England rate setters meeting this week should be in cordial agreement that Britain’s economy is growing at a decent pace, and that price pressures look mostly in check at the moment.
But when it comes to gauging how quickly slack in the labour market is disappearing – a key question deciding when they should raise interest rates – the surveys look a lot less joined-up.
Two reports on Tuesday were far apart on the issue and underscore just how tough it is to get a grip on one a threat in any economy to future inflation – the pass-through effects from higher wage deals, which tend to feed upon each other.
One from the Recruitment and Employment Confederation and KPMG showed British firms upped salary offers for new permanent staff at the fastest rate in almost 17 years as the pool of suitable candidates dwindles rapidly.
And the availability of permanent staff fell at the fastest rate since the survey started in 1997, with demand rising for both temporary and permanent staff.