Declining Retail Sales

Retail sales in Great Britain: Feb 2017 – ONS

  • Estimates of the quantity bought in retail sales increased by 3.7% compared with February 2016 and increased by 1.4% compared with January 2017; this monthly growth is seen across all store types.
  • The underlying pattern as suggested by the 3 month on 3 month movement decreased by 1.4% for the second month in a row; the largest decrease since March 2010 and only the second fall since December 2013.
  • Average store prices (including fuel) increased by 2.8% on the year, the largest growth since March 2012; the largest contribution came from petrol stations, where year-on-year average prices rose by 18.7%.
  • Online sales (excluding automotive fuel) increased year-on-year by 20.7% and by 3.3% on the month, accounting for approximately 15.3% of all retail spending.

UK inflation rises

UK consumer price inflation: Feb 2017 – ONS

  • The Consumer Prices Index including owner occupiers’ housing costs (CPIH, not a National Statistic) 12-month inflation rate was 2.3% in February 2017, up from 1.9% in January.
  • The rate in February 2017 was the highest since September 2013, having steadily increased since late 2015.
  • Rising transport costs, particularly for fuel, were the main contributors to the increase in the rate.
  • Prices for food increased by 0.3% between February 2016 and February 2017, following 31 consecutive months of prices falling on the year.
  • The Consumer Prices Index (CPI) 12-month rate was also 2.3% in February 2017, compared with 1.8% in January.

Unemployment falling

UK labour market: Mar 2017 – ONS

Main points for the 3 months to January 2017

  • There were 1.58 million unemployed people (people not in work but seeking and available to work), 31,000 fewer than for August to October 2016 and 106,000 fewer than for a year earlier.
  • There were 867,000 unemployed men, 21,000 fewer than for August to October 2016 and 56,000 fewer than for a year earlier.
  • There were 717,000 unemployed women, 10,000 fewer than for August to October 2016 and 50,000 fewer than for a year earlier.
  • The unemployment rate was 4.7%, down from 5.1% for a year earlier. It has not been lower since June to August 1975.
  • There were 8.87 million people aged from 16 to 64 who were economically inactive (not working and not seeking or available to work), 34,000 fewer than for August to October 2016 and 59,000 fewer than for a year earlier.
  • The inactivity rate (the proportion of people aged from 16 to 64 who were economically inactive) was 21.6%, slightly lower than for August to October 2016 (21.7%) and lower than for a year earlier (21.8%).
  • There were 31.85 million people in work, 92,000 more than for August to October 2016 and 315,000 more than for a year earlier.
  • There were 23.34 million people working full-time, 305,000 more than for a year earlier. There were 8.52 million people working part-time, 10,000 more than for a year earlier.
  • The employment rate (the proportion of people aged from 16 to 64 who were in work) was 74.6%, the joint highest since comparable records began in 1971.