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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.

Nationwide House Price Index

House Prices

October Monthly Index*: 453.3 (September 2020: 449.7) 
Monthly Change*: 0.8% (September 2020: 0.9%)
Annual Change to October: 5.8% (to September: 5.0%)
October 2020 Average Price: £227,826 (September 2020: £226,129 ) (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 rises to 5.8% in October, the highest rate since Jan 2015
  • Prices up 0.8% month-on-month, after taking account of seasonal factors

Commenting on the figures, Robert Gardner, Nationwide's Chief Economist, said: “Annual house price growth rose to 5.8% in October – its highest level since January 2015. UK house prices rose 0.8% month-on-month in October after taking account of seasonal effects, following a 0.9% rise in September.

“Data suggests that the economic recovery has lost momentum in recent months with economic growth slowing sharply to 2.1% in August, down from 6.4% in July, despite a strong boost to the hospitality sector from the Eat Out to Help Out scheme, which has since expired.

“Labour market conditions also weakened with the unemployment rate rising to 4.5% in the three months to August – still low by historic standards, but up from an average of 3.8% in 2019. “Nevertheless, housing market activity has remained robust. Mortgage approvals for house purchase climbed to 91,500 in September – the highest level since 2007.

“The outlook remains highly uncertain and will depend heavily on how the pandemic and the measures to contain it evolve as well as the efficacy of policy measures implemented to limit the damage to the wider economy. Behavioural shifts as a result of Covid-19 may provide support for housing market activity, while the stamp duty holiday will continue to provide a near term boost by bringing purchases forward.

“However, activity is likely to slow in the coming quarters, perhaps sharply, if the labour market weakens as most analysts expect, especially once the stamp duty holiday expires at the end of March.

Source: Nationwide House Price Index

Release Date: 30th October 2020
Next Release Date: 30th November 2020

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

UK Gross Domestic Product (GDP)

Gross Domestic Product

Main points

  • UK GDP grew by 2.1% in August 2020
  • In August, monthly GDP was 9.2% lower than the levels seen in February 2020, before the full impact of the coronavirus pandemic
  • GDP grew by 8.0% in the three months to August 2020, as lockdown measures continued to ease
  • The services sector remains 9.6% lower than the level in February 2020, before the main impacts of the coronavirus were seen
  • The production sector remains 6.0% lower than the level in February 2020, before the main impacts of the coronavirus were seen

The construction sector remains 10.8% lower than the level in February 2020, before the main impacts of the coronavirus were seen

Release Date: 9th October 2020
Next Release Date: 12th November 2020

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 Manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index (Markit and CIPS)

Markit IHS 150 x 112.jpg

Index: 54.1 - September 2020
Previous month: 55.2 - August 2020

Key findings:

  • UK Manufacturing PMI at 54.1 in September
  • Output rises for fourth successive month 
  • Further job losses reported

Publication date: 2nd October 2020
Next publication date: 3rd November 2020

Source: Markit Economics

UK Construction Purchasing Managers' Index (Markit and CIPS)

Markit IHS 150 x 112.jpg

Index: 56.8 September 2020
Previous month: 54.6 August 2020

UK construction activity expands sharply in September

Key findings:

  • Faster activity growth amid steep rise in homebuilding 
  • Quickest rise in new business since before lockdown 
  • Input buying increases at sharpest rate for almost five years

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: 1st October 2020
Next publication date: 2nd November 2020

Source: Markit Economics

GfK Consumer Confidence Index

GfK 150 x 112

Monthly Index: -25
Previous Month's Index: -27 (August)
Monthly Index Previous Year: -12 (September 2019)
Period: September 2020

Joe Staton, GfK’s Client Strategy Director, comments:

“Despite unfavourable double-dip economic headwinds and the threat of a second lockdown, we have seen an uptick for September as the Overall Index Score climbs to -25 from the near-historic low of -36 in our early June ‘flash’. This means consumer confidence has crept forward for nearly four months in a row now, but can this fragile improvement last or is it about to come to a grinding halt?

"Looking ahead over the rest of 2020 and beyond, keep an eye on our personal finance measure for the coming year and the major purchase intentions of consumers. These reflect how much we intend to spend, shop or invest, all vital considerations for retailers as we enter the ‘golden quarter’ in the run-up to Christmas. However, consumers are as jittery as stock markets right now and as the UK government puts the brakes back on – and there may be more to come – only an unbridled optimist will bet on confidence climbing further.”

UK Consumer Confidence Measures – September 2020

The Overall Index Score has remained at -27 for July. Three measures were up and two were down in comparison to the 4th COVID-19 flash of July 3rd.

Personal Financial Situation

The index measuring changes in personal finances over the last 12 months is down two points to -7; this is nine points lower than September 2019.

The forecast for personal finances over the next 12 months is unchanged this month at +1; this is three points lower than September 2019.

General Economic Situation

The measure for the general economic situation of the country during the last 12 months has increased by one point to -61; this is 29 points lower than in September 2019.  

Expectations for the general economic situation over the coming 12 months are up four points at -38 points; this is three points lower than September 2019.

Major Purchase Index

The Major Purchase Index has increased by four points to -21 in September; this is 24 points lower than it was in September 2019.

Savings Index

The Savings Index has dropped one point to +20 in September; this is three points lower than this time last year.

Release Date: 25th September 2020
Next Release Date: 26th October 2020

Source: GfK

ONS UK Retail Sales

Retail Sales

The ONS has reported on retail sales for four-week period from 2 to 29 August 2020.. 

Main points:

    • In August 2020, retail sales volumes increased by 0.8% when compared with July; this is the fourth consecutive month of growth, resulting in an increase of 4.0% when compared with February’s pre-pandemic level.

    • In August, retail sales values increased by 0.7% when compared with July and 2.5% when compared with February.

    • In August, there was a mixed picture within the different store types as non-store retailing volumes were 38.9% above February, while clothing stores were still 15.9% below February’s pre-pandemic levels.

    • Spending for home improvements continued to rise in August as sales volumes within household goods stores increased by 9.9% when compared with February.

    • Online retail sales fell by 2.5% in August when compared with July, but the strong growth experienced over the pandemic has meant that sales were still 46.8% higher than February’s pre-pandemic levels. 

  • The Office for National Statistics (ONS) has released a public statement on the coronavirus (COVID-19) and the production of statistics.

Period: September 2020

Publication Date: 18th September 2020
Next Release Date: 23rd October 2020

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

Source: Office for National Statistics

Bank of England: Bank Rate

Bank of England logo 150 x 112.jpg

Current bank rate: 0.1%
Previous bank rate: 0.1%

Release date: 17th September 2020
Next release date: 5th November 2020

Source : Bank of England

UK Consumer Price Index (CPI)

CPIH image

Main points for August 2020:

  • The Consumer Prices Index including owner occupiers' housing costs (CPIH) 12-month inflation rate was 0.5% in August 2020, down from 1.1% in July 2020.

  • The largest contribution to the CPIH 12-month inflation rate in August 2020 came from recreation and culture (0.35 percentage points).

  • Falling prices in restaurants and cafes, arising from the Eat Out to Help Out Scheme, resulted in the largest downward contribution (0.44 percentage points) to the change in the CPIH 12-month inflation rate between July and August 2020.

  • Other smaller downward contributions came from falling air fares and clothing prices rising by less between July and August 2020 than between the same two months a year ago.

  • The largest, partially offsetting, upward contributions came from games, toys and hobbies, accommodation services, road transport services and second-hand cars.

  • As the restrictions caused by the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic have been eased, the number of CPIH items that were unavailable to UK consumers in August has reduced to eight, as detailed in Table 58 of the Consumer price inflation dataset; these account for 1.1% of the CPIH basket by weight and made a small downward contribution of 0.01 percentage points to the change in the CPIH 12-month rate; the number of unavailable items is down from 12 for July and a high of 90 for April; for August, we have collected a weighted total of 86.9% of comparable coverage collected previously (excluding unavailable items).

  • The Consumer Prices Index (CPI) 12-month rate was 0.2% in August 2020, down from 1.0% in July.

Release Date: 16th September 2020
Next Release: 21st October 2020

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 August 2020: 

  • The headline rate of output inflation for goods leaving the factory gate was negative 0.9% on the year to August 2020, unchanged from June 2020.

  • The price for materials and fuels used in the manufacturing process displayed negative growth of 5.8% on the year to August 2020, down from negative growth of 5.7% in July 2020.

  • Petroleum products was the largest downward contributor to the annual rate of output inflation.

  • The largest downward contribution to the annual rate of input inflation was from crude oil.

  • November 2020 will see the first publication of the producer price inflation figures on a gross basis; we encourage the use of gross sector indices where available, as the net versions will no longer be produced; Section 6: Gross and net producer price indices has more information on this change.

  • The Office for National Statistics (ONS) has released a public statement on the coronavirus (COVID-19) and production of statistics; Section 8: Quality and Methodology describes the situation in relation to producer price inflation (PPI).

Release Date: 16th September 2020
Next Release: 21st October 2020

Source: Office for National Statistics

UK Labour Market

Unemployment office

Unemployment rate: 4.1% (May to July 2020)

Main points (April to June 2020)   


  • the estimated UK unemployment rate for all people was 3.9%; this is largely unchanged on both the year and the quarter
  • the estimated UK unemployment rate for men was 4.1%; this is largely unchanged on the year earlier but 0.1 percentage points down on the quarter

  • the estimated UK unemployment rate for women was 3.7%; this is 0.1 percentage points higher than a year earlier and 0.1 percentage points higher on the previous quarter

Publication date: 15th September 2020
Next publication date: 13th October 2020

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

BRC - KPMG Retail Sales Monitor

Retail Sales image

Covering the four weeks  2 – 29 August 2020

  •  In August, UK retail sales increased 4.7% on a Like-for-like basis from August 2019, when they had decreased 0.8% from the preceding year*.

  • On a Total basis, sales increased by 3.9% in August, against a decline of 0.4% in August 2019*, It is above the 3-month average growth of 3.5% and the 12m average decline of 1.6%. This is the best growth since May 2018, excluding Easter distortions.

  • Over the three months to August, In-Store sales of Non-Food items declined 17.8% on a Total and 8.5% on a Like-for-like basis. This is better than the 12-month Total average decline of 18.4%. For August, the like-for-like excluding temporarily closed stores remained in decline.

  • Over the three months to August, Food sales increased 6.3% on a Like-for-like basis and 5.9% on a Total basis. This is higher than the 12-month Total average growth of 3.4%. For the month of August, Food was in growth year-on-year.

  • Over the three-months to August, Non-Food retail sales increased by 7.7% on a like-for-like basis and 1.4% on a Total basis. This is above the 12-month Total average decline of 5.8%. For the month of August, Non-Food was in growth year-on-year.

  • Online Non-Food sales increased by 42.4% in August, against a growth of 1.6% in August 2019*. This is below the 3-mth average of 44.2% but above the 12-mth average of 22.9%.

  • Non-Food Online penetration rate increased from 29.0% in August 2019 to 39.3% this August.

* Note 2020 is a 53-week year in the ONS calendar: as a result of the extra week in January 2020, the comparable 2019 performances cited here may differ from those published last year, due to the one-week shift in the comparison.

Helen Dickinson OBE, Chief Executive | British Retail Consortium

“Despite another month of growth in August, retail sales remain down overall since the start of the pandemic. Remote working has continued to help sales in home goods, such as food, computing, furniture and TVs. Lockdown also appears to have permanently changed some consumers’ shopping habits, with online sales continuing to boom despite shops reopening in June. Meanwhile, city centre retailers continue to be devastated by low footfall and poor sales, as office workers stayed away for yet another month.

“Many retailers are continuing to struggle, particularly those in clothing, footwear and beauty, that are reliant on high footfall locations. With rents accumulating, and the September quarter payment date fast approaching, many retailers are hanging on by a thread. Unless businesses and government can successfully persuade office workers back into city and town centres, some high street retailers will be unable to afford their fixed costs. Government will need to act fast or September will see more shops close and more job losses realised.”

Paul Martin, UK Head of Retail | KPMG

“The retail sector continued to show promising signs of recovery in August, with like-for-like retail sales up 4.7% compared to last year. Whilst welcome news, the coming months are far from problem free, with economic uncertainties – including the unwinding of the furlough scheme – likely to leave many consumers thinking carefully about their spending priorities.

“We continue to experience mixed fortunes and not all retailers are where they should be at this point in the year. Fashion sales did start to rebound somewhat – at least online – although this was mainly driven by children’s back-to-school purchases. Likewise, the focus on home-related products, including furniture and computing equipment, continued – no doubt aided by many consumers remaining mostly at home.

“The online channel remains prominent, with penetration rates still high at 39.3% for non-food. Indeed, the vast majority of online categories realised significant growth in August. Clearly retailers have some serious thinking to do around what the future of the industry is going to be exactly. While the overall online penetration rate has declined in recent months, the significant acceleration of the channel is here to stay. With this in mind, retailers need to focus on the cost of doing business, as online is generally more expensive to operate.”

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

“Following further easing of lockdown restrictions, consumer spending on food continues to return to more usual patterns. Grocery sales put in a solid performance compared to August 2019, despite a much cooler summer bank holiday at the end of the month for English and Welsh shoppers. The ongoing normalisation of consumer spending has also been helped by the government’s Eat Out to Help Out scheme, which gave the out-of-home sector a significant and much-needed boost.

“The Eat Out to Help Out scheme and the holiday season helped IGD’s Shopper Confidence Index remain stable. However, shoppers have varying experiences and confidence is more subdued among lower socio-economic groups and younger shoppers (aged 18-34), with these consumers traditionally impacted more during an economic downturn.”

Release Date: 12th September 2020
Next Release Date: October 2020

Source: BRC

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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