Unemployment rate falls

Labour Market Statistics, Oct 2013: ONS

  • The unemployment rate for June to August 2013 was 7.7% of the economically active population, down 0.1 percentage points from March to May 2013. There were 2.49 million unemployed people, down 18,000 from March to May 2013.
  • The inactivity rate for those aged from 16 to 64 for June to August 2013 was 22.2%, down 0.2 percentage points from March to May 2013. There were 8.95 million economically inactive people aged from 16 to 64, down 83,000 from March to May 2013.
  • The employment rate for those aged from 16 to 64 for June to August 2013 was 71.7%, up 0.3 percentage points from March to May 2013. There were 29.87 million people in employment aged 16 and over, up 155,000 from March to May 2013.
  • Between June to August 2012 and June to August 2013 total pay rose by 0.7% and regular pay rose by 0.8%.

Shop price deflation

Shop price index: BRC

  • Overall shop prices reported annual deflation for the fifth consecutive month in September, slowing to 0.2% from the 0.5% decline reported in August.
  • Food inflation rose to 2.9% in September from 2.5% in August.
  • Non-food reported annual deflation of 2.0% in September from 2.3% in August.

Profitability of companies

Profitability of UK Companies, Q2 2013: ONS

  • Private non-financial corporations’ profitability, as measured by their net rate of return, was estimated at 11.4% in quarter two 2013, about the same as the typical level experienced in the last year and a half but lower than the levels experienced in 2011.
  • Manufacturing companies’ net rate of return was estimated at 7.2% in quarter two 2013. Along with quarter one 2013 this is the lowest level seen since quarter one 2003.
  • Service companies’ net rate of return was estimated at 15.1% in quarter two 2013, the same as in quarter one 2013 but higher than the levels seen in the last two and a half years, with the exception of quarter three 2012.
  • UK Continental Shelf (UKCS) companies’ net rate of return was 37.4% in quarter two 2013, above the levels seen in the last year but below the levels seen in 2011 and quarter one 2012.
  • Non-UKCS companies’ net rate of return was 10.7% in quarter two 2013, well within the range of data seen in the last few years.

Economic outlook (from the IMF)

World Economic Outlook: IMF October

  • Global growth is in low gear, and the drivers of activity are changing.
  • The euro area is crawling out of recession, but activity is forecast to stay tepid
  • Advanced economies are growing again but must continue financial sector repair, pursue fiscal consolidation, and spur job growth.
  • Emerging market economies face the dual challenges of slowing growth and tighter global financial conditions.

Retail and Online sales up

Retail Sales up: BRC & Online sales growing: BRC

  • UK retail sales were up 0.7% on a like-for-like basis from September 2012, when they had increased 1.5% on the preceding year.
  • On a total basis, sales were up 2.4%, against a 3.4% increase in September 2012 and in line with the 12-month moving average.
  • Online sales of non-food products in the UK grew 13.4% in September versus a year earlier, on a weighted basis.
  • In September 2012, the unweighted RSM non-food non-store indicator had increased by 9.9% over the previous year.

Indicators looking up

Business Trends: BDO

  • The Optimism Index, which predicts business performance in two quarters time, increased for the eighth consecutive month – from 98.0 in August to 100.7 in September, its highest level since April 2010. The figure has risen beyond the 100.0 mark, the level at which the economy is expected to achieve its long-run average trend growth rate over the coming six months, suggesting that economic growth will pick up speed in the next two quarters.
  • The Output Index, which predicts short-run turnover expectations, also continued its upward trend this month, reaching a 30-month high of 99.5 in September, up from 98.3 in August.
  • The Inflation Index, which predicts short-run business cost inflationary pressures, recorded a fifth consecutive decline to 100.6 in September from 101.0 in August.