Retail sales continue to fall

Retail sales in Great Britain: Mar 2017 – ONS

  • The 3 months to March shows a decrease of 1.4%; the third consecutive decrease for the underlying 3 month on 3 month pattern.
  • Looking at the quarterly movement, the 3 months to March 2017 (Quarter 1) is the first quarterly decline since 2013 (Quarter 4).
  • In March 2017, the quantity bought in the retail industry is estimated to have increased by 1.7% compared with March 2016 and decreased by 1.8% compared with February 2017; decreases are seen across the four main store types.
  • Average store prices (including fuel) increased by 3.3% on the year, the largest growth since March 2012; the largest contribution came from petrol stations, where year-on-year average prices rose by 16.4%.
  • Online sales (excluding automotive fuel) increased year-on-year by 19.5% and by 0.5% on the month, accounting for approximately 15.5% of all retail spending

UK unemployment continues to fall

UK labour market: Apr 2017 – ONS

Main points for the three months to February 2017

  • There were 1.56 million unemployed people (people not in work but seeking and available to work), 45,000 fewer than for September to November 2016 and 141,000 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. The unemployment rate is the proportion of the labour force (those in work plus those unemployed) that were unemployed.
  • There were 8.88 million people aged from 16 to 64 who were economically inactive (not working and not seeking or available to work), 10,000 fewer than for September to November 2016 and 36,000 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 September to November 2016 (21.7%) and for a year earlier (21.8%).
  • There were 31.84 million people in work, 39,000 more than for September to November 2016 and 312,000 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.