Unemployment continues to fall

Labour Market Statistics, September 2014

  • Comparing the estimates for May to July 2014 with those for February to April 2014, employment continued to rise and unemployment continued to fall. These changes continue the general direction of movement since late 2011/early 2012.
  • There were 30.61 million people in work. This was 74,000 more than for February to April 2014, the smallest quarterly increase since April to June 2013. Comparing May to July 2014 with a year earlier, there were 774,000 more people in work.
  • The proportion of people aged from 16 to 64 in work (the employment rate), was 73.0%, slightly higher than for February to April 2014 (72.9%) and higher than for a year earlier (71.6%).
  • There were 2.02 million unemployed people, 146,000 fewer than for February to April 2014 and 468,000 fewer than a year earlier. This is the largest annual fall in unemployment since 1988.
  • The unemployment rate continued to fall, reaching 6.2% for May to July 2014, the lowest since late 2008.
  • There were 8.93 million people aged from 16 to 64 who were out of work and not seeking or available to work (known as economically inactive). This was 114,000 more than for February to April 2014 but 31,000 fewer than for a year earlier.
  • The economic inactivity rate was 22.1%, higher than for February to April 2014 (21.8%) but lower than for a year earlier (22.3%)

Geography of youth unemployment

The geography of youth unemployment: a route map for change – Work Foundation

  • provides an overview of the geography of youth unemployment in Britain’s major towns and cities
  • sets out some of the reasons why there are significant geographic disparities between places in the level of youth unemployment
  • provides an overview of the current youth policy context and some of the challenges it presents

Online retail sales

Online Retail Sales Monitor: BRC

  • Online sales of Non-Food products in the UK grew 14.3% in February versus a year earlier.
  • In February 2013, they had increased by 12.3% over the previous year.
  • In February, online sales represented 17.5% of total Non-Food sales of our Monitor, against 15.4% in February 2013.
  • Online sales contributed 2.1 percentage points to the growth of Non-Food total sales. Excluding online, Non-Food store sales would have been down in February: half of the categories – Clothing, Footwear and Other Non-Food – would have shown a decline.

European retail trade down

European Retail Trade volumes, Oct 2013: Eurostat

  • In October 2013 compared with September 2013, the seasonally adjusted volume of retail trade fell by 0.2% in the euro area (EA17) and by 0.4% in the EU28
  • In September retail trade decreased by 0.6% and 0.4% respectively.
  • In October 2013 compared with October 2012 , the retail sales index fell by 0.1% in the euro area and rose by 0.5% in the EU28.

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.