- Change in gross domestic product (GDP) is the main indicator of economic growth. GDP was estimated to have increased by 0.5% in Quarter 3 (July to Sept) 2016 compared with growth of 0.7% in Quarter 2 (Apr to June) 2016. GDP was 2.3% higher in Quarter 3 2016 compared with the same quarter a year ago.
- In Quarter 3 2016, the services industries increased by 0.8%. In contrast, output decreased in the other 3 main industrial groups with construction decreasing by 1.4%, agriculture decreasing by 0.7% and production decreasing by 0.4%, within which manufacturing decreased by 1.0%.
Main points for June to August 2016
- There were 1.66 million unemployed people (people not in work but seeking and available to work), 10,000 more than for March to May 2016 but 118,000 fewer than for a year earlier.
- There were 891,000 unemployed men, 12,000 fewer than for March to May 2016 and 81,000 fewer than for a year earlier.
- There were 765,000 unemployed women, 23,000 more than for March to May 2016 but 37,000 fewer than for a year earlier.
- The unemployment rate was 4.9%, unchanged compared with March to May 2016 but down from 5.4% for a year earlier. The unemployment rate is the proportion of the labour force (those in work plus those unemployed) that were unemployed.
- There were 8.81 million people aged from 16 to 64 who were economically inactive (not working and not seeking or available to work), 65,000 fewer than for March to May 2016 and 231,000 fewer than for a year earlier.
- The inactivity rate (the proportion of people aged from 16 to 64 who were economically inactive) was 21.5%, the joint lowest since comparable records began in 1971.
- There were 31.81 million people in work, 106,000 more than for March to May 2016 and 560,000 more than for a year earlier.
- There were 23.23 million people working full-time, 362,000 more than for a year earlier. There were 8.58 million people working part-time, 198,000 more than for a year earlier.
- The employment rate (the proportion of people aged from 16 to 64 who were in work) was 74.5%, the joint highest since comparable records began in 1971.
- The Consumer Prices Index (CPI) rose by 1.0% in the year to September 2016, compared with a 0.6% rise in the year to August.
- The rate in September 2016 was the highest since November 2014, when it was also 1.0%.
- The main upward contributors to change in the rate were rising prices for clothing, overnight hotel stays and motor fuels, and prices for gas, which were unchanged, having fallen a year ago.
- These upward pressures were partially offset by a fall in air fares and food prices.
The British Retail Consortium has called on Government negotiators to put consumers first in the forthcoming Brexit talks by ensuring their sights are firmly set on keeping shop prices low once the UK leaves the European Union.
Failure to strike a good Brexit deal by 2019 would have a disproportionately severe impact on retailers and their customers, because if the UK fell back on to World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules the new tariff rates that the UK would apply to imports from the EU would be highest for consumer staples like food and clothing.
For example, the average duty on meat imports could be as high as 27%, while clothing and footwear would attract tariffs of 11-16% versus the current zero-rating for all EU imports.
Falling back on to WTO rules would also increase the cost of sourcing from beyond the EU. The import cost of women’s clothing from Bangladesh would be 12% higher, while Chilean wine would be 14% dearer for importers. This contrasts with duty rates that would apply to raw materials and semi-finished products, many of which would be zero-rated or attract rates of duty of below 10%.