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UK Executive Report summary

December 2020

Period covered: Period covered: 01 Nov 2020 – 31 Nov 2020

GDP rose by a record 16.0% in Q3 2020 from the previous quarter, revised up by 0.5 percentage points from the previous estimate. This follows a record contraction of 18.8% in the second quarter.

GDP remains 8.6% below its level at the end of 2019, upwardly revised from -9.7% in the initial estimate.

All components recorded record rises in the third quarter; services (+14.7%), production (+14.7%) and construction (+41.2%).

Indeed, services output increased by 14.7% in Q3 2020, revised up from the previous estimate but remains 8.9% lower than pre-pandemic levels in Q4 2019.

Within the services component, wholesale and retail trade drove much of the rise with growth of 31% supported by non-food stores and the online channel.

CPI inflation slowed in November, rising by just 0.3% year-on-year, down from the 0.7% rise in the previous month and below market expectations of a 0.6% rise.

The number of paid employees is down some 819,000 in November compared with March 2020 according to flash estimates using PAYE data. However, the largest falls were seen at the start of the coronavirus outbreak.

Total actual weekly hours worked stepped up by 104.9 million, or 12.3%, to 960.0 million hours between August and October as Covid-19 restrictions eased compared to the previous quarter.

The number of job vacancies continued to recover in the three months to November at an estimated 547,000. This is 110,000 more than the previous quarter but 251,000 fewer, or 31.5% down, compared to a year ago.

The employment rate slowed slightly to 75.2% in the three months to October – 0.5 percentage points down on the quarter and 0.9 percentage points lower than a year earlier.

The unemployment rate in the quarter to October edged up to 4.9%. This marks a 1.2 percentage point increase on last year and a 0.7 percentage point rise on the previous quarter.

Annual pay growth on a total basis (including bonuses) in the three months to October increasing to 2.7% while regular pay improved to 2.8%.

GDP and Retail Sales

Source: Retail Economics

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