Consumer confidence – small drop

Consumer confidence: GFK

  • UK Consumer Confidence Index has decreased by one point this month to -27
  • The fall back, even though by only 1 point, implies the recovery in confidence has stalled, and real recovery looks a long way away.

European unemployment

European unemployment: Eurostat

  • The euro area (EA17) seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate was 12.1% in March 2013, up from 12.0% in February
  • The EU27 unemployment rate was 10.9%, stable compared with February
  • In both zones, rates have risen markedly compared with March 2012, when they were 11.0% and 10.3% respectively
  • 26.521 million men and women in the EU27, of whom 19.211 million were in the euro area, were unemployed in March 2013.
  • Compared with February 2013, the number of persons unemployed increased by 69 000 in the EU27 and by 62 000 in the euro area.
  • Compared with March 2012, unemployment rose by 1.814 million in the EU27 and by 1.723 million in the euro area
  • In March 2013, 5.690 million young persons (under 25) were unemployed in the EU27, of whom 3.599 million were in the euro area
  • Compared with March 2012, youth unemployment rose by 177 000 in the EU27 and by 184 000 in the euro area.
  • In March 2013, the youth unemployment rate was 23.5% in the EU27 and 24.0% in the euro area, compared with 22.6% and 22.5% respectively in March 2012. I
  • The unemployment rate in the USA was 7.6% in March 2013. In Japan it was 4.3% in February 2013.

Well-being, satisfaction and ethnicity

Differences in well-being by ethnicity, April 2013: ONS

  • People from the Black ethnic group were on average least satisfied with their lives out of all the broad ethnic groups in the UK (6.7 out of 10). Bangladeshi (7.0 out of 10) and Mixed/multiple groups (7.1 out of 10) also gave lower ratings on average than the White ethnic group (7.4 out of 10).
  • All other ethnic groups, gave on average, lower ratings than the White ethnic group when asked to assess the extent they feel the things they do in life are worthwhile. Bangladeshi gave the lowest average ratings (7.3 out of 10) compared with the White group (7.7 out of 10).
  • Day-to-day emotions including happiness and anxiety also differ by ethnic group. Indian respondents reported higher levels of anxiety yesterday (3.4 out of 10) compared with the White ethnic group (3.1 out of 10), which is in contrast to happiness yesterday, life satisfaction, and worthwhile things in life where their responses were similar.
  • On average all ethnic groups reported higher levels of anxiety than the White ethnic group.
  • Within each ethnic group, there was little difference between men’s and women’s assessment of their own well-being.

The differences observed between ethnic groups in subjective well-being may in part be caused by the way that different people with different ethnic backgrounds respond to these questions, but also the varied responses reflect the different circumstances that people find themselves in.

British Lifestyles report: Mintel

  • When asked about how their spending habits have changed over the past five years, some 56% of all Brits (amounting to 23 million adults) claim to now only buy items when absolutely needed and almost four in ten (37%) say they are buying fewer treats for themselves and their families.
  • While just over a fifth (22%) of consumers agree they have been better off over the past year, more than a third (36%) say things have become more difficult.
  • A further third (36%) of Brits claim to go on fewer holidays and almost a fifth (17%) are working longer hours as a consequence of the downturn.
  • In addition, while in 2008 six in ten Brits (60%) were perfectly happy with their standard of living, this fell to 50% in 2012.
  • Today, the top three financial priorities for British consumers are 1. Keeping up with bills (82%) 2. Adding to rainy day savings (67%) 3. Saving for big ticket purchases (58%). Just 6% of adults admit they haven’t changed their spending habits in response to the economic downturn.

Retail Employment

Retail Employment: BRC

  • Retail employment rose by 1.8% in the first quarter of 2013 compared with a year earlier, driven entirely by part-time workers and predominantly in food retailers.
  • In the first quarter of 2013, the number of outlets rose by 1.4%, having fallen in the previous quarter.
  • In March, there were 253 more stores in our sample compared with March last year, driven entirely by food retailers.
  • Four in five retailers intend to increase or keep staffing levels unchanged in the next three months.