The IFS warns that further cuts to pay could make it "increasingly difficult" for public sector employers to "retain and recruit high quality workers".
The Chancellor suggests a future Tory government would make large welfare cuts, including a lower benefit cap.
Littered throughout the speech were references to northern towns and how they will benefit from the coalition's policies.
The Chancellor's ideological cuts are but one route to sound public finances. Alternatives, centred around investment, are available.
The first poll on the Autumn Statement shows that voters agree with Balls that Osborne is "in denial about the cost of living crisis".
Inequality is a more important explanation than rising employer costs for why the wages of the typical worker have fallen behind GDP.
Minutes after the Chancellor declared that the UK was growing "faster even than America", US growth was revised up.
Both Miliband and Balls know they need to do more if people are going to be persuaded to put them in charge of public money.
The Chancellor boasted of higher GDP and employment, but the living standards squeeze is set to continue.