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.

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.

Employment rate highest since 1971

UK labour market: Feb 2017 – ONS

Main points for October to December 2016

  • There were 31.84 million people in work, 37,000 more than for July to September 2016 and 302,000 more than for a year earlier.
  • There were 23.29 million people working full-time, 218,000 more than for a year earlier. There were 8.55 million people working part-time, 84,000 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 highest since comparable records began in 1971.
  • There were 1.60 million unemployed people (people not in work but seeking and available to work), little changed compared with July to September 2016 but 97,000 fewer than for a year earlier.
  • There were 877,000 unemployed men, little changed compared with July to September 2016 but 48,000 fewer than for a year earlier.
  • There were 720,000 unemployed women, little changed compared with July to September 2016 but 50,000 fewer than for a year earlier.
  • The unemployment rate was 4.8%, down from 5.1% for a year earlier. It has not been lower since July to September 2005.
  • There were 8.86 million people aged from 16 to 64 who were economically inactive (not working and not seeking or available to work), 31,000 fewer than for July to September 2016 and 61,000 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 July to September 2016 (21.7%) and lower than for a year earlier (21.8%).

Inflation highest since June 2014

UK consumer price inflation: Jan 2017 – ONS

  • The Consumer Prices Index (CPI) rose by 1.8% in the year to January 2017, compared with a 1.6% rise in the year to December 2016.
  • The rate in January 2017 was the highest since June 2014.
  • The main contributors to the increase in the rate were rising prices for motor fuels and to a lesser extent food prices, which were unchanged between December 2016 and January 2017, having fallen a year ago.
  • These upward pressures were partially offset by prices for clothing and footwear, which fell by more than they did a year ago.

Growth Steady

Gross domestic product, preliminary estimate: Oct to Dec 2016 – ONS

  • UK gross domestic product (GDP) was estimated to have increased by 0.6% during Quarter 4 (Oct to Dec) 2016, the same rate of growth as in the previous 2 quarters.
  • Growth during Quarter 4 was dominated by services, with a strong contribution from consumer-focused industries such as retail sales and travel agency services.
  • Following falls in Quarter 3 (July to Sept) 2016, construction and production provided negligible positive contributions to GDP growth in Quarter 4 2016.
  • UK GDP was estimated to have increased by 2.0% during 2016, slowing slightly from 2.2% in 2015 and from 3.1% in 2014.
  • GDP per head was estimated to have increased by 0.4% during Quarter 4 2016 and by 1.3% during 2016.