UK unemployment up by 28,000

For November 2011 to January 2012:

  • The unemployment rate has not been higher since 1995 but the rise in unemployment was the lowest in almost a year.
  • The unemployment rate was 8.4 per cent of the economically active population, up 0.1 on the quarter.
  • There were 2.67 million unemployed people, up 28,000 on the quarter.
  • The inactivity rate for those aged from 16 to 64 was 23.1 per cent, down 0.1 on the quarter.There were 9.30 million economically inactive people aged from 16 to 64, down 27,000 on the quarter.
  • The employment rate for those aged from 16 to 64 was 70.3 per cent, unchanged on the quarter. There were 29.12 million people in employment aged 16 and over, up 9,000 on the quarter.

Labour Market Statistics, March 2012

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The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development publishes a new report: Counting the cost of the jobs recession

  • Almost 2.7 million people have been made redundant in the past four years, equivalent to one in ten employees at the start of the recession. The manufacturing and construction sectors together account for a third of total redundancies since 2008 (more than double the combined share of these sectors in total employment). By comparison public administration, education and health account for 11% of redundancies, while the finance, insurance and real estate sector accounts for 6%.
  • Adjusting for the share of redundancies across sectors and differences in the average cost of redundancy between sectors, the total cost of redundancy to UK employers since the start of the jobs recession is an estimated £28.6 billion.
  • The cumulative loss of output to the economy as a result of the jobs recession amounts to between £87 billion and £135 billion (6% to 10% of GDP), depending on different assumptions about the potential productivity of unemployed people and the extent of underemployment amongst people in work.
  • Two-thirds of people made redundant are paid less in the next job they find. On average the pay penalty is 28%.
  • High and rising unemployment has put downward pressure on pay increases since 2008. The proportion of employees receiving a pay increase has dropped from two-thirds in 2008 to less than half (45%) in 2011. In cash terms the average worker is £3000 a year worse off than if pay had increased at the pre-recession rate.
  • Higher inflation has also resulted in a real pay squeeze.  Private sector workers are on average earning 7% less in real terms than in 2008 and public sector workers 4% less.

Regional GDP per capita in 2009

  • In 2009, GDP per capita, expressed in terms of purchasing power standards, in the EU27’s 271 NUTS-2 regions ranged from 27% of the EU27 average in the region of Severozapaden in Bulgaria, to 332% of the average in Inner London in the United Kingdom.

Regional GDP per capita in 2009 – Eurostat

  • NIESR monthly estimates of GDP suggest that output grew by 0.1 per cent in the three months ending in February after a contraction of 0.2 per cent in the three months ending in January 2012.
  • The UK economy can best be described as ‘flat’

Estimates of monthly GDP from NIESR

UK Trade Jan 2012

UK Trade January 2012 – ONS

  • The UK’s deficit on seasonally adjusted trade in goods and services was £1.8 billion in January, compared with the deficit of £1.2 billion in December.
  • The deficit on seasonally adjusted trade in goods was £7.5 billion in January, compared with the deficit of £7.2 billion in December.
  • The surplus on seasonally adjusted trade in services was estimated at £5.8 billion in January, compared with the surplus of £6.0 billion in December

EU Overseas Trade Statistics Latest Release

  • The value of imports and exports both increased compared to December 2011. They rose by roughly the same amount. Consequently there has been little change in the difference between imports and exports compared with December.
  • UK’s EU exports have increased by £0.6 billion (4.9 per cent) compared to December 2011, to £12.7 billion. Compared to January 2011, however, exports have decreased by £0.3 billion (2.4 per cent).
  • UK’s EU imports have increased by £0.6 billion (3.7 per cent) compared to December 2011, to £16.4 billion. Compared to January 2011 imports have increased by £0.8 billion (5.1 per cent).
  • The UK remains a net importer (imports are greater than exports). The size of difference between imports and exports has decreased slightly compared to December 2011 by 0.3 per cent and has increased from January 2011 by 43.0 per cent.

 

Small business confidence improving

  • Small business confidence has improved despite rising overheads and problems accessing finance
  • The ‘Voice of Small Business’ Index, which surveyed more than 3,000 FSB members, shows confidence rising for the first time in a year, with more than half of those surveyed aiming to grow in the 12 months ahead.
  • The survey shows considerable optimism about the scope for businesses expansion with a third of firms looking to increase capital investment plans.
  • Small businesses consider credit to be both difficult to access and hard to afford.This is borne out by statistics showing high loan refusal rates (40.6%) and elevated interest rate demands for many firms

New figures from the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB)

  • A net balance of 8.1 per cent of small firms laid off staff in the three months to February – the highest figure since the survey began
  • A net balance of 1.2 per cent of small firms is looking to take on new workers in the next three months, the highest level since Q2 2010

More from the FSB ‘Voice of Small Business’ index