In this recent article, The Economist argues that one of the reasons behind the anaemic recent wage growth in Britain is that the recent job growth has been concentrated in lower-productivity jobs and cites the fact that the number of hairdressers in the UK is up 50% since 2010. How can that be?

The population is probably up c. 5% since 2010, which means that population growth can't explain this increase. It also seems far-fetched that people would consume 40-50% more haircuts per person per year. (As an example, that would mean that instead of getting a haircut once every 4 weeks or 13 times per year, you now get a haircut once every 2.7 weeks or 19.5 times per year.) What am I missing?

I ask this question because I do think that the growth of low-productivity jobs plays an important role behind stagnating real wages in the UK. (A continental European politician once commented on the British economy pivoting more and more towards services by saying, "you can't all make a living by opening doors for each other.")

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    $\begingroup$ This source re "hairdressing and other beauty treatments" shows a sudden leap in number between 2015 and 2016 suggesting a change in definition or classification. Note: you may find you can only view it once without paying. $\endgroup$ – Adam Bailey Sep 30 '18 at 21:32
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    $\begingroup$ Thanks. You're probably right. I have sent a letter to the editor at The Economist and will post an update here if I hear back from them. $\endgroup$ – Candamir Sep 30 '18 at 23:32
  • $\begingroup$ There has indeed been a large increase, especially of nail bars in high-street shops which previously sold other things. See for example a local report in the Bournemouth Echo and a national report in The Guardian $\endgroup$ – Henry Oct 4 '18 at 7:34

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