Unemployment falling

UK labour market: August 2017 – ONS

  • There were 1.48 million unemployed people (people not in work but seeking and available to work), 57,000 fewer than for January to March 2017 and 157,000 fewer than for a year earlier.
  • The unemployment rate (the proportion of those in work plus those unemployed, that were unemployed) was 4.4%, down from 4.9% for a year earlier and the lowest since 1975.
  • There were 8.77 million people aged from 16 to 64 who were economically inactive (not working and not seeking or available to work), 64,000 fewer than for January to March 2017 and 90,000 fewer than for a year earlier.
  • There were 32.07 million people in work, 125,000 more than for January to March 2017 and 338,000 more than for a year earlier.
  • The employment rate (the proportion of people aged from 16 to 64 who were in work) was 75.1%, the highest since comparable records began in 1971.
  • There were 883,000 people (not seasonally adjusted) in employment on “zero-hours contracts” in their main job, 20,000 fewer than for a year earlier.
  • The inactivity rate (the proportion of people aged from 16 to 64 who were economically inactive) was 21.3%, down from 21.6% for a year earlier and the lowest since comparable records began in 1971.

Inflation rate falling

UK consumer price inflation: June 2017 – ONS

  • The Consumer Prices Index including owner occupiers’ housing costs (CPIH, not a National Statistic) 12-month inflation rate was 2.6% in June 2017, down from 2.7% in May 2017.
  • This is the first fall in the CPIH inflation rate since April 2016, although it remains higher than in recent years.
  • Falling prices for motor fuels and certain recreational and cultural goods and services were the main contributors to the fall in the rate.
  • These downward contributions were partially offset by rising prices for furniture and furnishings.
  • The Consumer Prices Index (CPI) 12-month rate was 2.6% in June 2017, down from 2.9% in May 2017.

Inflation on the rise

UK consumer price inflation: May 2017 – ONS

  • The Consumer Prices Index including owner occupiers’ housing costs 12-month inflation rate was 2.7% in May 2017, up from 2.6% in April.
  • The rate has been steadily increasing following a period of relatively low inflation in 2015 and is at its highest since April 2012.
  • Rising prices for recreational and cultural goods and services (particularly games, toys and hobbies) was the main contributor to the increase in the rate.
  • There were smaller upward contributions from increased electricity and food prices.
  • These upward contributions were partially offset by falls in motor fuel prices, and air and sea fares, the latter two influenced by the timing of Easter in April this year.
  • The Consumer Prices Index (CPI) 12-month rate was 2.9% in May 2017, up from 2.7% in April.

Retail sales quantities up

Retail sales in Great Britain: Apr 2017 – ONS

  • In April 2017, the quantity bought in the retail industry increased by 2.3% compared with March 2017 and by 4.0% compared with April 2016.
  • The underlying pattern, as measured by the 3 month on 3 month estimate, showed a slight increase in April 2017 following a short period of contraction, increasing by 0.3%.
  • Anecdotal evidence from retailers suggests that good weather contributed to growth.
  • Average prices slowed slightly in April 2017, falling from 3.3% in March to 3.1% in April.

Unemployment falls

UK labour market: May 2017 – ONS

Main points for January to March 2017

  • There were 1.54 million unemployed people (people not in work but seeking and available to work), 53,000 fewer than for October to December 2016 and 152,000 fewer than for a year earlier.
  • The unemployment rate (the proportion of those in work plus those unemployed, that were unemployed) was 4.6%, down from 5.1% for a year earlier and the lowest since 1975.
  • There were 8.83 million people aged from 16 to 64 who were economically inactive (not working and not seeking or available to work), 40,000 fewer than for October to December 2016 and 82,000 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%, down from 21.8% for a year earlier and the joint lowest since comparable records began in 1971.
  • There were 31.95 million people in work, 122,000 more than for October to December 2016 and 381,000 more than for a year earlier.
  • The employment rate (the proportion of people aged from 16 to 64 who were in work) was 74.8%, the highest since comparable records began in 1971.

UK inflation highest since 2013

UK consumer price inflation: Apr 2017

  • The Consumer Prices Index (CPI) 12-month rate was 2.7% in April 2017, up from 2.3% in March
  • The Consumer Prices Index including owner occupiers’ housing costs (CPIH, not a National Statistic) 12-month inflation rate was 2.6% in April 2017, up from 2.3% in March.
  • The rate has been steadily increasing following a period of relatively low inflation in 2015 and is at its highest since June 2013.
  • Air fares were the main contributors to the increase in the rate in April 2017, although this balanced out a downward effect of similar magnitude in March 2017 and is due to Easter falling later than last year.
  • Rising prices for clothing, vehicle excise duty and electricity also contributed to the increase in the rate.
  • These upward contributions were partially offset by a fall in motor fuel prices between March 2017 and April 2017, compared with a rise between the same 2 months a year ago

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