Growth in average pay for UK workers overtook inflation for the first time in five years, according to data from the Office for National Statistics.
Wages excluding bonuses rose by 1.3% in the year to September, beating the 1.2% Consumer Prices Index inflation rate.
Including bonuses, earnings rose by 1%, the ONS said.
The ONS also said that UK unemployment fell by 115,000 between July and September to 1.96 million, the 18th consecutive fall.
Pay has lagged inflation since the global financial crisis, but in recent months earnings have been rising just as the pace of price growth slows.
The government said it showed that the recovery was feeding through to household budgets, but unions said it would be years before earnings returned to pre-crisis levels.
IHS Global Insight’s chief UK economist, Howard Archer, said the news on pay would be a relief for consumers.
But he added: “This is still really more to do with low inflation than markedly improving earnings. However, earnings growth did take a much-needed decent step in the right direction in September.”