European unemployment

European unemployment: Eurostat

  • The euro area (EA17) seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate was 12.2% in April 2013, up from 12.1% in March.
  • The EU27 unemployment rate was 11.0%, unchanged compared with the previous month .
  • In both zones, rates have risen markedly compared with April 2012, when they were 11.2% and 10.3% respectively.
  • 26.588 million men and women in the EU27, of whom 19.375 million were in the euro area, were unemployed in April 2013.
  • Compared with March 2013, the number of persons unemployed increased by 104 000 in the EU27 and by 95 000 in the euro area.
  • Compared with April 2012, unemployment rose by 1.673 million in the EU27 and by 1.644 million in the euro area

GDP growth forecast

GDP growth forecast: BCC

  • BCC upgrades its GDP growth forecast from 0.6% to 0.9% in 2013, from 1.7% to 1.9% in 2014, and from 2.2% to 2.4% in 2015
  • Unemployment expected to reach 2.650 million in Q3 2014 – 50,000 higher than we predicted in March
  • Public sector borrowing is forecast at £117.5bn in 2013/14, £2.5bn lower than the OBR predicted in March 2013
  • Household consumption to grow by 1.3% in 2013, 2.0% in 2014 and 2.4% in 2015
  •  UK export volumes are forecast to fall by 0.5% this year.

Retail sales fall

Distributive Trades Survey: CBI

  • Retail sales fell at their fastest rate in more than a year in May
  • The steepest fall in sales since January last year – showing retail activity has weakened persistently during 2013.
  • Overall sales volumes remained below average for the time of year and orders fell faster than at any point since November 2011.
  • Grocery sales were broadly flat on a year ago, reversing last month’s rise. Falls in sales across most other sub-sectors, including clothing and footwear.
  • Retailers are reporting a slightly brighter outlook, expecting sales to rise modestly next month and the business situation to improve over the next quarter.
  • Firms are planning to scale back their investment for the year ahead – with investment intentions now the weakest since the start of last year.

IMF: “the weakest recovery in recent history” for the UK

Activity appears to be improving, but a slow recovery remains likely: IMF

1. Recent data suggest some improvement in economic and financial conditions.

2. The UK is, however, still a long way from a strong and sustainable recovery.

3. The prospect remains for weak growth. Given ongoing domestic deleveraging pressures and weak external demand, activity is expected to pick up only gradually

4. Risks remain tilted to the downside.

Retail sales disappoint

Retail sales, April 2013: ONS

  • In April 2013 compared with March 2013, the quantity bought decreased by 1.3%, while the amount spent also decreased by 1.3%.
  • The largest source of downwards pressure came from the food sector, where, compared with March 2013, the quantity of goods bought decreased by 4.1%, which is the lowest since May 2011.
  • Over the same period the amount spent in the food sector decreased by 3.5%.
  • In April 2013, the quantity bought in the retail sector (or sales volumes) increased by 0.5% compared with April 2012. Over the same period, the amount spent in the retail sector (sales values) increased by 1.3%.
  • The main source of downwards pressure in both the quantity bought and the amount spent came from the food sector, where, compared with April 2012, the quantity of goods bought decreased by 3.8%, which is the lowest since June 2011. The amount spent decreased by 0.2%, which is the largest contraction on record.
  • The contraction in the quantity bought within the food sector leads to the level of goods bought in this sector falling to its lowest point since December 2003.
  • In April 2013, the overall proportion of non-seasonally adjusted online sales remained high at 10.0% reflecting feedback from large retailers, which suggested that during the continued cold weather consumers purchased from their online sites rather than in store