First decline in spending in food stores in 25 years

Retail Sales, July 2014: ONS

  • In July 2014, the quantity bought in the retail industry increased by 2.6% compared with July 2013 and by 0.1% compared with June 2014.
  • The three-month on previous three-month movement in the quantity bought showed continued growth for the seventeenth consecutive month increasing by 0.3%.  This was the longest period of sustained growth since November 2007.
  • Average prices of goods sold in July 2014 compared with July 2013 showed deflation of 0.9%. Food stores were the only sector to show an increase in prices (0.2%).  There has been declining growth in this series with July 2014 showing the lowest growth since December 2004, when it fell by 0.1%.  These data are consistent with the Consumer Prices Index (CPI) which was published on 19 August 2014.
  • Since the food stores series began in January 1989, July 2014 was the first time we have seen a fall in the amount spent in food stores year-on-year (1.3%).
  • In July 2014, the amount spent in the retail industry increased by 1.7% compared with July 2013 and fell by 0.1% compared with June 2014.  Non-seasonally adjusted data show that the average weekly spend in the retail industry in July 2014 was £7.0 billion compared with £6.9 billion in July 2013 and £7.0 billion in June 2014.
  • The amount spent online increased by 11.2% in July 2014 compared with July 2013 but decreased by 1.9% compared with June 2014.

Self-employment higher than at any point over past 40 years

Self-employed workers in the UK – 2014: ONS

  • Self-employment higher than at any point over past 40 years
  • Rise in total employment since 2008 predominantly among the self-employed
  • Rise predominately down to fewer people leaving self-employment than in the past
  • The number of over 65s who are self-employed has more than doubled in the past 5 years to reach nearly half a million
  • Self-employed workers tend to be older than employees and are more likely to work higher (over 45) or lower (8 or less) hours
  • The number of women in self-employment is increasing at a faster rate than the number of men (although men still dominate self employment)
  • The most common roles are working in construction and taxi driving and in recent years there have been increases in management consultants
  • Average income from self-employment fallen by 22% since 2008/09
  • Across the European Union the UK has had the third largest percentage rise in self-employment since 2009

UK becoming the ‘self-employment capital’ of Western Europe

Job growth in UK fuelled by fastest growth of self-employment in Europe

  • Growth in self-employment in the UK has been the fastest of all Western European countries over the last year, with the proportion of workers who are self-employed rising by almost a whole percentage point.
  • The UK had internationally low levels of self-employment for many years but has caught up with the EU average
  • Self-employment has proven to be a key driver of overall job creation, with the working-age employment rate reaching historically high levels.

UK unemployment rate falls

Labour Market Statistics, August 2014: ONS

  • The unemployment rate continued to fall, reaching 6.4% for April to June 2014, the lowest since late 2008. There were 2.08 million unemployed people, 132,000 fewer than for January to March 2014 and 437,000 fewer than a year earlier.
  • For April to June 2014, there were 8.86 million economically inactive people (those out of work but not seeking or available to work) aged from 16 to 64. This was 15,000 more than for January to March 2014 but 130,000 fewer than a year earlier. The economic inactivity rate was 21.9%, unchanged compared with January to March 2014
  • For April to June 2014, there were 30.60 million people in work, 167,000 more than for January to March 2014 and 820,000 more than a year earlier.
  • The proportion of people aged from 16 to 64 in work (the employment rate), was 73.0%. This was higher than for January to March 2014 and for a year earlier.

The TUC claims that the UK economy is very good at creating low-paid jobs but is struggling to create the better-paid work we need for a fair and sustainable recovery.

The Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) claims that “Even a full-blown economic recovery will not solve the UK’s “structural youth unemployment” problem“.