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Economic Data

Welcome to the ‘Economic Data’ section of Insight DIY, which includes a summary of all of the key UK economic indicators that you may need to know within your business. Each of these key indicators are updated as and when they are released by their various sources and provide a really valuable addition to any monthly report or business overview.

UK Labour Market

Unemployment office

Unemployment rate: 3.8% (May to July 2019)
Previous rolling quarter: 3.8% (February to April 2019)

Main points (May to July 2019) 

  • The UK employment rate was estimated at 76.1%; this is the joint-highest on record since comparable records began in 1971, and higher than a year earlier (75.5%).

  • The UK unemployment rate was estimated at 3.8%; this is lower than a year earlier (4.0%) and unchanged on the quarter.

  • The UK economic inactivity rate was estimated at 20.8%; this is lower than a year earlier (21.2%) and unchanged on the quarter.

  • Estimated annual growth in average weekly earnings for employees in Great Britain increased to 4.0% for total pay (including bonuses), and fell to 3.8% for regular pay (excluding bonuses).

  • In real terms (after adjusting for inflation), annual growth in total pay is estimated to be 2.1% and annual growth in regular pay is estimated to be 1.9%.

Publication date: 10th September 2019
Next publication date: 15th October 2019

The level and rate of UK unemployment measured by the Labour Force Survey (LFS) using a definition of unemployment specified by the International Labour Organisation. Unemployed people as those without a job who have been actively seeking work in the past 4 weeks and are available to start work in the next 2 weeks. It also includes those who are out of work but have found a job and are waiting to start it in the next 2 weeks.

Source: Office for National Statistics

UK Gross Domestic Product (GDP)

Gross Domestic Product

Main points

  • Gross domestic product (GDP) was flat in the three months to July 2019
  • Services was the only positive contributor to gross domestic product (GDP) growth in the three months to July 2019
  • Rolling three-month gross domestic product (GDP) growth was 0.0% in the three months to July 2019
  • Gross domestic product (GDP) grew by 0.3% in July 2019

Release Date: 9th September 2019
Next Release Date: 10th October 2019

Preliminary, second and final estimates of GDP released over a quarter as more data becomes available. The final estimate is published in the Quarterly National Accounts. GDP is the main measure of UK economic growth based on the value of goods and services produced during a given period.

Source: Office for National Statistics

UK Construction Purchasing Managers' Index (Markit and CIPS)

Markit IHS 150 x 112.jpg

Index: 45.0 August 2019
Previous month: 45.3 July 2019

Key findings:

  • New orders fall at fastest pace for over ten years in August 
  • Construction output drops for the fourth month in a row 
  • Business optimism sinks to its lowest since December 2008

The Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply (CIPS) Construction Purchasing Manager's Index (PMI) is a diffusion index incorporating survey results provided by construction firms throughout the country. A reading above fifty suggests the construction sector is expanding, while a reading below fifty suggests the construction sector is in contraction. Policymakers and traders watch these surveys closely as purchasing managers usually have early access to data about their company’s performance, rather than waiting for the hard data to emerge.

Publication date: 3rd September 2019
Next publication date: 3rd October 2019

Source: Markit Economics

Nationwide House Price Index

House Prices

August Monthly Index*: 429.2 (July 2019: 429.1) 
Monthly Change*: 0.0% (July 2019: 0.3%)
Annual Change to July: +0.6% (July: 2019: +0.3%)
August Average Price: £216,096 (July 2019: £217,663) (not seasonally adjusted) 

* Seasonally adjusted figure (note that monthly % changes are revised when seasonal adjustment factors are re-estimated)

Key Findings

  • Annual house price growth remained subdued at 0.6% 
  • Prices unchanged month-on-month, after taking account of seasonal factors

Commenting on the figures, Robert Gardner, Nationwide's Chief Economist, said: 

“Annual house price growth remained below 1% for the ninth month in a row in August, at 0.6%. While house price growth has remained fairly stable, there have been mixed signals from the property market in recent months.

“Surveyors report that new buyer enquiries have increased a little, though key consumer confidence indicators remain subdued. Data on the number of property transactions points to a slowdown in activity, though the number of mortgages approved for house purchase has remained broadly stable.

“Housing market trends will remain heavily dependent on developments in the broader economy. In the near term, healthy labour market conditions and low borrowing costs will provide underlying support, though uncertainty is likely to continue to exert a drag on sentiment and activity."

Nationwide is the world's largest building society and one of the UK's largest mortgage providers. They have the longest unbroken run of house price data, stretching back to 1952 on a quarterly basis and 1991 on a monthly basis.  

Source: Nationwide House Price Index

Release Date:  2nd September 2019
Next Release Date: 2nd October 2019

BRC - KPMG Retail Sales Monitor

Retail Sales image

August Sales Flatline

  • On a Total basis, sales were flat in August, against an increase of 1.3% in August 2018. This is above the 3-month average of -0.4% but below the 12-month average of 0.4%. This is the lowest 12-month average on record.

  • UK retail sales decreased by 0.5% on a Like-for-like basis from August 2018, when they had increased 0.2% from the preceding year. This is above the 3-month average of -0.7% but below the 12-month average of -0.2%.

  • Over the three months to August, In-store sales of Non-Food items declined 3.0% on a Total and Like-for-like basis. This is worse than the 12-month Total average decline of 2.6%.

  • Over the three months to August, Food sales decreased 0.3% on a Like-for-like basis and increased 0.5% on a Total basis. This is below the 12-month Total average growth of 1.7%.

  • Over the three-months to August, Non-Food retail sales in the UK decreased by 1.2% on a like-for-like and Total basis. This is below the 12-month Total average decrease of 0.7%. For the month of August, Non-Food was in decline year-on-year.

  • Online sales of Non-Food products grew 2.2% in August, against a growth of 7.5% in August 2018. The 3-month and 12-month average growths were 3.4% and 4.3% respectively. 

  • Non-Food Online penetration rate increased from 28.0% in August 2018 to 29.5% last month.

Paul Martin, UK Head of Retail | KPMG

“August proved to be yet another incredibly disappointing month for retail, with like-for-like sales down 0.5% and total sales flat-lining at zero. It’s clear that for much of the retail market, efforts are being focussed on preservation, not growth, in this adverse and uncertain climate.

“The rhythm of the back-to-school promotions did provide some reprieve, bolstering sales of children’s fashion and footwear. This also appeared to benefit fashion sales more broadly. As has been the case for some time now, online sales outperformed the high street, but with growth as low as 2.2%, it’s clear that even this channel has slowed down drastically.

“With a budgetary Spending Review, the Brexit crunch point looming and potentially a general election on the cards, it’s clear that the only thing that is certain in the coming months is further uncertainty. It’s vital that retailers insulate themselves for every eventuality and have rigorous contingency plans in place.”

Helen Dickinson OBE, Chief Executive | British Retail Consortium

“Retail sales flatlined in August with the 12-month average dropping to a new low of just 0.4%. Greater economic and political uncertainty has driven down consumer demand. While the summer weather gave a small boost to food sales, this was cancelled out by a drop in non-food sales.

“Summer discounting and poor footfall have hit in-store sales particularly hard. If the Government wants to avoid seeing further store closures and job losses on the UK high street, they must take action. Last month, fifty retail CEOs wrote to the Chancellor demanding he fix the broken business rates system, allowing businesses to fund vital investment during this unprecedented period of transformation.”

Food & Drink sector performance | Susan Barratt, CEO | IGD

“Food and grocery sales moved back into positive territory in August with year on year growth, thanks considerably to the approaching Bank Holiday heatwave. As August progressed, the October Brexit deadline received increasing attention but only 3 per cent of shoppers say they’ve begun to build stocks for this purpose: not enough to show through in the total sector sales.”

Release Date: 2nd September 2019
Next Release Date: 3rd October 2019

Source: BRC

NHBC - New Build Statistics/New Registrations

NHBC logo 150 x 112

Monthly Data

Total Registrations (July 2019): 14,262 
Total Registrations (July 2018): 15,719

Private Sector Registrations (July 2019): 10,398
Private Sector Registrations (July 2018): 11,877

Affordable and Rental Sector Registrations (July 2019): 3,864
Affordable and Rental Sector Registrations (July 2018): 3,842

Rolling Quarter Data

Total Registrations (Rolling Qtr May to July 2019): 44,163
Total Registrations (Rolling Qtr May 2018 to July 2018): 43,199
Percentage Change: +2%

Private Sector Registrations (Rolling Qtr May to July 2019): 30,584
Private Sector Registrations (Rolling Qtr May 2018 to July 2018): 30,841

Affordable and Rental Sector Registrations (Rolling Qtr May to July 2019): 13,579
Affordable and Rental Sector Registrations (Rolling Qtr May 2018 to July 2018): 12,358

Commenting on the latest figures NHBC Chief Executive Steve Wood said: 

“Although new home registrations for July are down compared to 12 months ago, we are still seeing signs of growth coming through with the rolling quarter.

“Despite the uncertainties and concerns around Brexit, the industry remains resilient and you can see that in these figures.”

NHBC is the leading warranty and insurance provider for new homes in the UK and its registration statistics are a lead indicator for the new homes market.

Release Date: 2nd September 2019 
Next Release: 3rd October 2019

Source: NHBC

NHBC is the leading warranty and insurance provider for new homes in the UK and its registration statistics are a lead indicator for the new homes market.

UK Manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index (Markit and CIPS)

Markit IHS 150 x 112.jpg

Index: 47.4 - August 2019
Previous month: 48.0 - July 2019

Key findings:

  • UK Manufacturing PMI at 47.4 in August (85-month low) 
  • New orders contract at fastest pace in over seven years 
  • Business confidence falls to series-record low

Publication date: 2nd September 2019
Next publication date: 1st October 2019

Source: Markit Economics

GfK Consumer Confidence Index

GfK 150 x 112

Monthly Index: -14
Previous Month's Index: -11
Monthly Index Previous Year: -7
Period: August 2019

Joe Staton, Client Strategy Director at GfK, says:

“Until Brexit leaves the front pages – whenever that will be – consumers can be forgiven for feeling nervous not just about the wider economy but also about their financial situation.

"That’s an important distinction because a significant development in August is the sudden drop in views on personal finances ‘over the next 12 months’ after the encouraging jump in this measure last month.

"For a long time, the downward momentum in the Overall Index Score has been associated with our views on economy. But reduced confidence is now affecting how we see our personal finances.

"If there is a continuation of that dip in our feelings about our ‘future wallets’, we’d quickly see a headline score (the average of our five sub-measures) crash to a level that approaches the worrying figures seen in the worst days of the 2008/2009 financial crisis.

"We are not there yet, and we may not necessarily get there, but it’s a trend we need to watch carefully.”

The Overall Index Score in August 2019 is -14. All five measures decreased in August.

Personal Financial Situation 

The index measuring changes in personal finances during the last 12 months has decreased by two points this month to -1; this is five points lower than August 2018. 

The forecast for personal finances over the next 12 months decreased by five points to +2 this month; this is six points lower than August 2018.

General Economic Situation 

The measure for the general economic situation of the country during the last 12 months has decreased two points this month to -34; this is eight points lower than in August 2018. 

Expectations for the general economic situation over the next 12 months have decreased six points to -38; this is 12 points lower than August 2018. 

Major Purchase Index 

The major purchase index decreased three points in August to +1; this is five points lower than in August 2018.

Savings Index 

The savings index has decreased four points in August to +21; this is four points higher than at this time last year.

Release Date: 30th August 2019
Next Release Date: 30th September 2019

Source: GfK

ONS UK Retail Sales

Retail Sales

Main points:

  • In the three months to July 2019, the quantity bought in retail sales increased by 0.5% when compared with the previous three months, with food stores and fuel stores seeing a decline.

  • The quantity bought in July 2019 increased by 0.2% when compared with the previous month, with strong growth of 6.9% in non-store retailing.

  • Department stores’ growth increased for the first time this year with a month-on-month growth of 1.6%; this was following six consecutive months of decline.

  • Year-on-year growth in the quantity bought increased by 3.3% in July 2019, with food stores being the only main sector reporting a fall at negative 0.5%.

  • In July 2019, online retailing accounted for 19.9% of total retailing compared with 18.9% in June 2019, with an overall growth of 12.7% when compared with the same month a year earlier.  

Period: July 2019
Publication Date: 15th August 2019
Next Release Date: 19th September 2019

This bulletin presents estimates of the quantity bought (volume) and amount spent (value) in the retail industry for the four-week period 30 June 2019 to 27 July 2019.

Unless otherwise stated, the estimates in this release are seasonally adjusted.

Source: Office for National Statistics

UK Consumer Price Index (CPI)

CPIH image

Main points for July 2019:

  • The Consumer Prices Index including owner occupiers’ housing costs (CPIH) 12-month inflation rate was 2.0% in July 2019, increasing from 1.9% in June 2019.
  • Between June and July 2019, there were large upward contributions to the change in the CPIH 12-month rate from games, toys and hobbies, and accommodation services, where prices for both rose by more than a year ago, and from clothing and footwear, and other financial services.
  • There were offsetting downward contributions to change coming from transport services and, to a lesser extent, from domestic fuels principally electricity and gas.
  • The Consumer Prices Index (CPI) 12-month rate was 2.1% in July 2019, increasing from 2.0% in June 2019.

Release Date: 14th August 2019
Next Release: 18th September 2019

Price indices, percentage changes and weights for the different measures of consumer price inflation. 

Source: Office for National Statistics

UK Producer Price Inflation (PPI)

Producer Price Index

Main points for July 2019: 

  • The headline rate of output inflation for goods leaving the factory gate was 1.8% on the year to July 2019, up from 1.6% in June 2019.
  • The growth rate of prices for materials and fuels used in the manufacturing process was 1.3% on the year to July 2019, up from 0.3% in June 2019.
  • Computer, electrical and optical products provided the largest upward contribution to the annual rate of output inflation.
  • Fuels provided the largest upward contribution to the annual rate of input inflation.

Release Date: 14th August 2019
Next Release: 18th September 2019

Source: Office for National Statistics

Bank of England: Bank Rate

Bank of England logo 150 x 112.jpg

Current bank rate: 0.75%
Previous bank rate: 0.75%

Release date:  1st August 2019
Next release date: 19th September 2019

Source : Bank of England

 

 

UK Population Figures

UK Census

UK population: 66,436,000 (mid 2018)
UK population: 66,040,229 (mid 2017)
Percentage change: +0.6%

2018 Data:

Male: 32.8 million (49.4%)
Female: 33.6 million (50.6%)

Estimated population of England: 55,977,000 (84.3% of the UK’s population)
Estimated population of Scotland: 5,438,000 (8.2% of the UK’s population)
Estimated population of Wales: 3,139,000 (4.7% of the UK’s population)
Estimated population of Northern Ireland: 1,882,000 (2.8% of the UK’s population)

Mid-year population estimates relate to the usually resident population. They account for long-term international migrants (people who change their country of usual residence for a period of 12 months or more) but do not account for short-term migrants (people who come to or leave the country for a period of less than 12 months). This approach is consistent with the standard UN definition for population estimates which is based upon the concept of usual residence and includes people who reside, or intend to reside, in the country for at least twelve months, whatever their nationality.

Data last updated: June 2019
Next update: June 2020

Source: ONS

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I find the news and articles they publish really useful and enjoy reading their views and commentary on the industry. It's the only source of quality, reliable information on our major customers and it's used regularly by myself and my team.

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Simon Fleet - Sales & Marketing Director, Thomas Dudley Ltd
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