The State of Britain

Staff Writer

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A decrease in the region’s productivity and the performance of the EM’s economy relative to other parts of the UK mixed

Reading Time: 3 minutes

A nowcast for the EM for the 12 months ended March 2021 which incorporates the second lockdown, published by the Economic Statistic Centre of Excellence (‘ESCoE’) on a rolling 4 quarter basis, has estimated that the EM economy contracted by 9.4%.

This ranked the EM ‘best’ in the UK (previous ranking also top) with Wales’s 13.4% contraction the ‘worst’. The UK overall posted -11.8% on the same measure.

ESCoE is a partnership of research institutions and the Office for National Statistics (‘ONS’) and has highlighted that during these unprecedented times, with differing lockdowns, there is no historical data that their model can use to fully understand how the pandemic will impact regional economies.

Consequently the partnership emphasises the uncertainties that exist with their nowcast at this time. This is the last nowcast that will be published by ESCoE with the ONS taking over the running of the model in the future.

ONS GDP to December 2020

Official ONS figures for an earlier period which reflect a mix of continued recovery from the first lockdown but also a slowdown from the second lockdown show the region’s performance relative to other parts of the UK.

The ONS’s figures for the quarter to December 2020 showed the EM post growth of -0.8% compared with 19.6% to September 2020.

This placed the EM bottom (previous ranking second) out of the twelve UK ‘regions’. London was top with quarterly growth of 3.1% whilst the East Midlands was bottom, posting growth of -0.8%. UK growth was 1%.

In this period, the EM’s best sector was transport at 7.4% whilst accommodation fell by 18.4. Production, Construction and Services were -2.7%, -0.9% and -0.2%.

Labour

Data from the ONS showed the Job Retention Scheme continued to mitigate unemployment across the UK. Unemployment in the region fell by 14,000 to 118,000 between March and May 2021; the drop of 0.5% took the rate to 4.9%. At 6.5% London was the highest; Northern Ireland had the lowest rate of 3.6%, with the UK rate at 4.8%.

The South East had the highest employment rate at 77.7%, this compared with 70.3% in Northern Ireland and 74.8% in the EM where 2.3m are employed; the UK rate was 74.7%.

Public sector employment in the EM increased by 3.5% to 366,000 in the year to March 2021, which was 16.5% of the workforce. At 25.9% Northern Ireland had the highest level of public sector employment which compared to 14.8% in London which was the lowest.

Productivity

ONS figures also showed that in 2020, output per hour worked fell by 0.6% in the EM which ranked the region tenth out of the 12 UK ‘regions’. Productivity growth in 2019 was best in the North West, increasing by 4.6% and fell the most in the West Midlands, decreasing by 1.4%. Output per hour worked in the UK overall increased by 0.4%.

Research and Development

The region attracted £2.4bn of R&D spend in 2019, up from £2.2bn in 2018. This ranked the EM eighth in the UK (previous ranking eighth). Over the same period the South East did best and secured £7.5bn of R&D expenditure with the North East only attracting £0.7bn.

Overall UK R&D spend rose by £1.3bn (3.4%) to £38.5bn in 2019 – the lowest percentage growth since 2013. Most R&D expenditure was in the business sector at £25.9bn (67% of the UK total), followed by the higher education sector at £9.1bn (24%).

Total R&D expenditure represented 1.74% of GDP in 2019; compared with 1.59% in 2008 and 1.72% in 2018. Overseas funding of R&D increased by 4.1% to £5.6bn in 2019 compared with 2018; this was 0.8% higher than the peak in 2014 of £5.5bn.

Housing

The EM’s average property price fell by 0.2% in May to £216,077. The drop took the annual increase to 11%. In comparison, UK prices grew by 0.9% to £254,624, an annual growth rate of 10%.

The manufacturing sector leads the region’s recovery and spending on R&D in the EE continues to increase

Reading Time: 3 minutes

A nowcast for the EE for the 12 months ended March 2021 which incorporates the second lockdown, published by the Economic Statistic Centre of Excellence (‘ESCoE’) on a rolling 4 quarter basis, has estimated that the EE economy contracted by 11.8%.

This ranked the EE sixth in the UK (previous ranking ninth). Over the same period the East Midlands was ‘best’ with a fall of 9.4%, with Wales’s 13.4% contraction the ‘worst’. The UK overall posted -11.8% on the same measure.

ESCoE is a partnership of research institutions and the Office for National Statistics (‘ONS’) and has highlighted that during these unprecedented times, with differing lockdowns, there is no historical data that their model can use to fully understand how the pandemic will impact regional economies.

Consequently the partnership emphasises the uncertainties that exist with their nowcast at this time. This is the last nowcast that will be published by ESCoE with the ONS taking over the running of the model in the future.

ONS GDP to December 2020

Official ONS figures for an earlier period which reflects a mix of continued recovery from the first lockdown but also a slowdown from the second lockdown show the region’s performance relative to other parts of the UK.

The ONS’s figures for the quarter to December 2020 showed the EE post growth of 1.4% compared with 18.8% to September 2020.

This placed the EE fourth (previous ranking sixth) out of the twelve UK ‘regions’. London was top with quarterly growth of 3.1% whilst the East Midlands was bottom, posting growth of -0.8%. UK growth was 1%.

In this period, the EE’s best sector was manufacturing at 7% whilst accommodation fell by 18.4. Overall Production, Construction and Services were 5.9%, 2% and 0.5%.

Labour

Data from the ONS showed the Job Retention Scheme continued to mitigate unemployment across the UK. Unemployment in the region increased by 2,000 to 128,000 between March and May 2021; the uplift of 0.2% took the rate to 4%. At 6.5% London was the highest; Northern Ireland had the lowest rate of 3.6%, with the UK rate at 4.8%.

The South East had the highest employment rate at 77.7%, this compared with 70.3% in Northern Ireland and 77.6% in the EE where 3.1m are employed; the UK rate was 74.7%.

Public sector employment in the EE increased by 4.1% to 439,000 in the year to March 2021, which was 15.9% of the workforce. At 25.9% Northern Ireland had the highest level of public sector employment which compared to 14.8% in London which was the lowest.

Productivity

ONS figures also showed that in 2020, output per hour worked grew by 1.9% in the EE which ranked the region fourth out of the 12 UK ‘regions’. Productivity growth in 2019 was best in the North West, increasing by 4.6% and fell the most in the West Midlands, decreasing by 1.4%. Output per hour worked in the UK increased overall by 0.4%.

Research and Development

The region attracted £6.9bn of R&D spend in 2019, up from £6.6bn in 2018. This ranked the EE second in the UK (previous ranking second). Over the same period the South East did best and secured £7.5bn of R&D expenditure with the North East only attracting £0.7bn.

Overall UK R&D spend rose by £1.3bn (3.4%) to £38.5bn in 2019 – the lowest percentage growth since 2013. Most R&D expenditure was in the business sector at £25.9bn (67% of the UK total), followed by the higher education sector at £9.1bn (24%).

Total R&D expenditure represented 1.74% of GDP in 2019; compared with 1.59% in 2008 and 1.72% in 2018. Overseas funding increased by 4.1% to £5.6bn in 2019 compared with 2018; this was 0.8% higher than the peak in 2014 of £5.5bn.

Housing

The EE’s average property price fell by 1% in May to £310,200. The drop took the annual increase to 6.9%. In comparison, UK prices grew by 0.9% to £254,624, an annual growth rate of 10%.

The Province’s productivity growth outstrips most other regions and unemployment remains the lowest in the UK

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A nowcast for Northern Ireland for the 12 months ended March 2021 which incorporates the second lockdown, published by the Economic Statistic Centre of Excellence (‘ESCoE’) on a rolling 4 quarter basis, has estimated that the Province’s economy contracted by 10.5%.

This ranked Northern Ireland third in the UK (previous ranking fourth). Over the same period the East Midlands was ‘best’ with a fall of 9.4%, with Wales’s 13.4% contraction the ‘worst’. The UK overall posted -11.8% on the same measure.

ESCoE is a partnership of research institutions and the Office for National Statistics (‘ONS’) and has highlighted that during these unprecedented times, with differing lockdowns, there is no historical data that their model can use to fully understand how the pandemic will impact regional economies.

Consequently the partnership emphasises the uncertainties that exist with their nowcast at this time. This is the last nowcast that will be published by ESCoE with the ONS taking over the running of the model in the future.

ONS GDP to December 2020

Official ONS figures for an earlier period which reflects a mix of continued recovery from the first lockdown but also a slowdown from the second lockdown show the Province’s performance relative to other parts of the UK.

The ONS’s figures for the quarter to December 2020 showed Northern Ireland post growth of 0.7% compared with 15.4% to September 2020.

This placed Northern Ireland eighth (previous ranking tenth) out of the twelve UK ‘regions’. London was top with quarterly growth of 3.1% whilst the East Midlands was bottom, posting growth of -0.8%. UK growth was 1%.

Labour

Data from the ONS showed the Job Retention Scheme continued to mitigate unemployment across the UK. Unemployment in Northern Ireland was stable at 31,000 between March and May 2021; a rate of 3.6%. At 6.5% London was the highest; Northern Ireland had the lowest rate with the UK rate at 4.8%.

The South East had the highest employment rate at 77.7%, this compared with the lowest rate of 70.3% in Northern Ireland where 0.8m are employed; the UK rate was 74.7%.

Public sector employment in Northern Ireland increased by 0.9% to 216,000 in the year to March 2021, which was 25.9% of the workforce, the highest level of public sector employment in the UK which compared to 14.8% in London which was the lowest.

Productivity

ONS figures also showed that in 2020, output per hour worked increased by 3.5% in Northern Ireland which ranked the Province second out of the 12 UK ‘regions’. Productivity growth in 2019 was best in the North West, increasing by 4.6% and fell the most in the West Midlands, decreasing by 1.4%. Overall output per hour worked in the UK increased by 0.4%.

Research and Development

Northern Ireland attracted £0.8bn of R&D spend in 2019, up from £0.7bn in 2018. This ranked Northern Ireland tenth in the UK (previous ranking twelfth). Over the same period the South East did best and secured £7.5bn of R&D expenditure with the North East only attracting £0.7bn.

Overall UK R&D spend rose by £1.3bn (3.4%) to £38.5bn in 2019 – the lowest percentage growth since 2013. Most R&D expenditure was in the business sector at £25.9bn (67% of the UK total), followed by the higher education sector at £9.1bn (24%).

Total R&D expenditure represented 1.74% of GDP in 2019; compared with 1.59% in 2008 and 1.72% in 2018. Overseas funding of R&D increased by 4.1% to £5.6bn in 2019 compared with 2018; this was 0.8% higher than the peak in 2014 of £5.5bn.

Housing

Northern Ireland’s average property price increased by 1.1% in Q1 2021 to £149,178. The uplift took the annual increase to 6%. In comparison, UK prices grew by 0.9% to £254,624, an annual growth rate of 10%.

The South West pulls out of the first Lockdown the best whilst the West Midlands hit the hardest

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Official ONS figures which reflect the economy opening up after the first lockdown show each regions performance relative to other parts of the UK.

These stats compare GDP in the quarter ended September 2020 with the same quarter a year earlier. Northern Ireland topped the table with growth of -2.9% whilst UK growth over the same period was -7.5%. The West Midlands was bottom, posting growth of -11.3%.

In the same report, the ONS’s figures for the standalone quarter to September 2020 showed the South West was top with quarterly growth of 19.9% whilst London was bottom, posting growth of 13.3%; UK growth was 16.9%.

UK stats

Stats for the UK as a whole are more recent.  UK GDP fell by 1.5% in the three months to March 2021 with GDP growth of 2.1% in March itself. Over the quarter, services fell by 2%, with construction up by 2.6% and production down by 0.4%. GDP has fallen by 8.7% from its pre-pandemic level.

According to Eurostat, GDP decreased by 0.1% in the EU27 during the first quarter of 2021. This meant that annually GDP fell by 1.2% in the EU.

Over the quarter the data showed that the German economy fell by 1.8%, France by 0.1%, with Italy at +0.1%. Annually, Germany contracted by 3.1% and France grew by 1.2% with a 0.8% decline recorded in Italy.

The UK labour market, supported by the Job Retention Scheme, saw the level of employment increase to 31.2m and the level of unemployment fall to 1.6m or 4.8%.

The EU27 rate was at 7.3%. The lowest unemployment rate in April 2021 was 3.1% in Poland and the highest was 15.8% in Greece.

UK inflation was 1.6% in April 2021 with European Union inflation at 2%.

The UK public sector deficit in April 2021 was £31.7bn, £15.6bn less than in April 2020. Debt at the end of April 2021 was £2,171bn which was 98.5% of GDP, the highest ratio since the 99.5% recorded in March 1962.

Yorkshire & The Humber outperforms most other UK regions after the first Lockdown

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Official ONS figures which reflect the economy opening up after the first lockdown show the region’s performance relative to other parts of the UK.

These compare GDP in the quarter ended September 2020 with the same quarter a year earlier. These showed that Y&H’s growth was -6.4% compared with -21.7% the previous quarter. This placed Y&H fifth (previous ranking sixth) out of the twelve UK ‘regions’.

Northern Ireland topped the table with growth of -2.9% whilst UK growth over the same period was -7.5%. The West Midlands was bottom, posting growth of -11.3%.

In the same report, the ONS’s figures for the standalone quarter to September 2020 showed Y&H post growth of 19.2% compared with -18.8% in April to June 2020.

This placed the Y&H fourth (previous ranking sixth) out of the twelve UK ‘regions’. The South West was top with quarterly growth of 19.9% whilst London was bottom, posting growth of 13.3%; UK growth was 16.9%.

In this period, the Y&H’s best sector was accommodation at 291% compared with agriculture at -0.6%. Production, Construction and Services were 21%, 49% and 17%.

Labour

Data from the ONS showed the Job Retention Scheme continued to mitigate unemployment across the UK. Unemployment in the region was down 13,000 at 125,000 between January and March; the drop of 0.6% took the rate to 4.6%. At 6.8% London was the highest; the South East had the lowest rate of 3.4%, with the UK rate at 4.8%.

The South East had the highest employment rate at 78.5%, this compared with 69.1% in Northern Ireland and 73.7% in Y&H where 2.7m are employed; the UK rate was 75.2%.

Public sector employment in Y&H increased by 2.3% to 477,000, which was 18.6% of the workforce. At 25.9% Northern Ireland had the highest level of public sector employment which compared to 14.5% in London which was the lowest.

In December, average earnings in Y&H grew to £600 per week. London had the highest average earnings of £871 and the lowest average earnings of £584 were recorded in the North East and the East Midlands.

Earnings in Scotland increased the most in the UK by £37 per week whereas the biggest drop in wages was £50 in the East Midlands. The rate of annual pay growth was 4.0% for total pay and 4.6% for regular pay. In real terms, total pay is growing at a faster rate than inflation at 3.1%, with regular pay growth at 3.6%. Public sector pay grew at 5.6% compared with 3.7% in the private sector.

The public sector saw the highest estimated growth in total pay. All sectors saw positive growth, although construction (1.2%) and manufacturing (1.9%) had smaller growth than the other sectors. This is an improvement on the growth rates in April to June 2020, the three-month period with the biggest falls in average pay, when all sectors except for the public sector had negative growth rates.

Housing

Y&H’s average property price increased by 3.4% in March 2021 to £188,575. The uplift took the annual increase to 14%. In comparison, UK prices grew by 1.8% to £256,405 during March, an annual growth rate of 10.2%.

The West Midlands’s economy hit the hardest by the first Lockdown

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Official ONS figures which reflect the economy opening up after the first lockdown show the region’s performance relative to other parts of the UK.

These stats compare GDP in the quarter ended September 2020 with the same quarter a year earlier. These showed that the WM’s growth was -11.3% compared with -24.7% the previous quarter. This placed the WM last (previous ranking also last) out of the twelve UK ‘regions’.

Northern Ireland topped the table with growth of -2.9% whilst UK growth over the same period was -7.5%.

In the same report, the ONS’s figures for the standalone quarter to September 2020 showed the WM post growth of 16.8% compared with -20.2% in April to June 2020.

This placed the WM seventh (previous ranking tenth) out of the twelve UK ‘regions’. The South West was top with quarterly growth of 19.9% whilst London was bottom, posting growth of 13.3%; UK growth was 16.9%.

In this period, the WM’s best sector was accommodation at 244% compared with agriculture at 0%. Production, Construction and Services were 15%, 38% and 16%.

Labour

Data from the ONS showed the Job Retention Scheme continued to mitigate unemployment across the UK. Unemployment in the region was down 11,000 at 169,000 between January and March; the drop of 0.4% took the rate to 5.7%. At 6.8% London was the highest; the South East had the lowest rate of 3.4%, with the UK rate at 4.8%.

The South East had the highest employment rate at 78.5%, this compared with 69.1% in Northern Ireland and 74.2% in the WM where 2.8m are employed; the UK rate was 75.2%.

Public sector employment in the WM increased by 3.4% to 454,000, which was 16.4% of the workforce. At 25.9% Northern Ireland had the highest level of public sector employment which compared to 14.5% in London which was the lowest.

In December, average earnings in the WM grew to £631 per week. London had the highest average earnings of £871 and the lowest average earnings of £584 were recorded in the North East and the East Midlands.

Earnings in Scotland increased the most in the UK by £37 per week whereas the biggest drop in wages was £50 in the East Midlands. The rate of annual pay growth was 4.0% for total pay and 4.6% for regular pay. In real terms, total pay is growing at a faster rate than inflation at 3.1%, with regular pay growth at 3.6%. Public sector pay grew at 5.6% compared with 3.7% in the private sector.

The public sector saw the highest estimated growth in total pay. All sectors saw positive growth, although construction (1.2%) and manufacturing (1.9%) had smaller growth than the other sectors. This is an improvement on the growth rates in April to June 2020, the three-month period with the biggest falls in average pay, when all sectors except for the public sector had negative growth rates.

Housing

The WM’s average property price increased by 1.8% in March 2021 to £220,982. The uplift took the annual increase to 10.7%. In comparison, UK prices grew by 1.8% to £256,405 during March, an annual growth rate of 10.2%.

The Welsh economy lags other parts of the UK out of the first Lockdown

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Official ONS figures which reflect the economy opening up after the first lockdown show the Wales’s performance relative to other parts of the UK.

These stats compare GDP in the quarter ended September 2020 with the same quarter a year earlier. These showed that Wales’s growth was -6% compared with -18.3% the previous quarter. This placed Wales fourth (previous ranking third) out of the twelve UK ‘regions’.

Northern Ireland topped the table with growth of -2.9% whilst UK growth over the same period was -7.5%. The West Midlands was bottom, posting growth of -11.3%.

In the same report, the ONS’s figures for the standalone quarter to September 2020 showed Wales post growth of 14.4% compared with -15.2% in April to June 2020.

This placed Wales eleventh (previous ranking second) out of the twelve UK ‘regions’. The South West was top with quarterly growth of 19.9% whilst London was bottom, posting growth of 13.3%; UK growth was 16.9%.

In this period, Wales’s best sector was accommodation at 303% compared with agriculture at -1%. Production, Construction and Services were 15%, 31% and 13%.

Labour

Data from the ONS showed the Job Retention Scheme continued to mitigate unemployment across the UK. Unemployment in the region was up 1,000 at 68,000 between January and March; this took the rate to 4.4%. At 6.8% London was the highest; the South East had the lowest rate of 3.4%, with the UK rate at 4.8%.

The South East had the highest employment rate at 78.5%, this compared with 69.1% in Northern Ireland and 74% in Wales where 1.6m are employed; the UK rate was 75.2%.

Public sector employment in Wales increased by 3.5% to 306,000, which was 21.9% of the workforce. At 25.9% Northern Ireland had the highest level of public sector employment which compared to 14.5% in London which was the lowest.

In December, average earnings in the Wales dropped to £606 per week. London had the highest average earnings of £871 and the lowest average earnings of £584 were recorded in the North East and the East Midlands.

Earnings in Scotland increased the most in the UK by £37 per week whereas the biggest drop in wages was £50 in the East Midlands. The rate of annual pay growth was 4.0% for total pay and 4.6% for regular pay. In real terms, total pay is growing at a faster rate than inflation at 3.1%, with regular pay growth at 3.6%. Public sector pay grew at 5.6% compared with 3.7% in the private sector.

The public sector saw the highest estimated growth in total pay. All sectors saw positive growth, although construction (1.2%) and manufacturing (1.9%) had smaller growth than the other sectors. This is an improvement on the growth rates in April to June 2020, the three-month period with the biggest falls in average pay, when all sectors except for the public sector had negative growth rates.

Housing

The Welsh average property price increased by 3.1% in March 2021 to £185,341. The uplift took the annual increase to 11%. In comparison, UK prices grew by 1.8% to £256,405 during March, an annual growth rate of 10.2%.

The South West’s economy grows by a UK best of 19.9%

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Official ONS figures which reflect the economy opening up after the first lockdown show the region’s performance relative to other parts of the UK.

These stats compare GDP in the quarter ended September 2020 with the same quarter a year earlier. These showed that the SW’s growth was -5.2% compared with -21.4% the previous quarter. This placed the SW third (previous ranking fifth) out of the twelve UK ‘regions’.

Northern Ireland topped the table with growth of -2.9% whilst UK growth over the same period was -7.5%. The West Midlands was bottom, posting growth of -11.3%.

In the same report, the ONS’s figures for the standalone quarter to September 2020 showed the SW post growth of 19.9% compared with -18.9% in April to June 2020.

This placed the SW first (previous ranking seventh) out of the twelve UK ‘regions’; London was bottom, posting growth of 13.3%; UK growth was 16.9%.

In this period, the SW’s best sector was accommodation at 307% compared with mining at -5.6%. Production, Construction and Services were 22%, 49% and 18%.

Labour

Data from the ONS showed the Job Retention Scheme continued to mitigate unemployment across the UK. Unemployment in the region was 17,000 lower at 110,000 between January and March; the drop of 0.2% took the rate to 3.9%. At 6.8% London was the highest; the South East had the lowest rate of 3.4%, with the UK rate at 4.8%.

The South East had the highest employment rate at 78.5%, this compared with 69.1% in Northern Ireland and 76.7% in the SW where 2.7m are employed; the UK rate was 75.2%.

Public sector employment in the SW increased by 3.3% to 458,000, which was 16.8% of the workforce. At 25.9% Northern Ireland had the highest level of public sector employment which compared to 14.5% in London which was the lowest.

In December, average earnings in the SW grew to £654 per week. London had the highest average earnings of £871 and the lowest average earnings of £584 were recorded in the North East and the East Midlands.

Earnings in Scotland increased the most in the UK by £37 per week whereas the biggest drop in wages was £50 in the East Midlands. The rate of annual pay growth was 4.0% for total pay and 4.6% for regular pay. In real terms, total pay is growing at a faster rate than inflation at 3.1%, with regular pay growth at 3.6%. Public sector pay grew at 5.6% compared with 3.7% in the private sector.

The public sector saw the highest estimated growth in total pay. All sectors saw positive growth, although construction (1.2%) and manufacturing (1.9%) had smaller growth than the other sectors. This is an improvement on the growth rates in April to June 2020, the three-month period with the biggest falls in average pay, when all sectors except for the public sector had negative growth rates.

Housing

The SW’s average property price increased by 2.6% in March 2021 to £287,650. The uplift took the annual increase to 10.9%. In comparison, UK prices grew by 1.8% to £256,405 during March, an annual growth rate of 10.2%.

The South East’s labour market the best in the UK and the economy posts good growth after the first lockdown

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Official ONS figures which reflect the economy opening up after the first lockdown show the region’s performance relative to other parts of the UK.

These stats compare GDP in the quarter ended September 2020 with the same quarter a year earlier. These showed that the SE’s growth was -8.3% compared with -23.3% the previous quarter. This placed the SE ninth (previous ranking tenth) out of the twelve UK ‘regions’.

Northern Ireland topped the table with growth of -2.9% whilst UK growth over the same period was -7.5%. The West Midlands was bottom, posting growth of -11.3%.

In the same report, the ONS’s figures for the standalone quarter to September 2020 showed the SE post growth of 19.1% compared with -20.4% in April to June 2020.

This placed the SE fifth (previous ranking sixth) out of the twelve UK ‘regions’. The South West was top with quarterly growth of 19.9% whilst London was bottom, posting growth of 13.3%; UK growth was 16.9%.

In this period, the SE’s best sector was accommodation at 236% compared with agriculture at 1.7%. Production, Construction and Services were 20%, 55% and 17%.

Labour

Data from the ONS showed the Job Retention Scheme continued to mitigate unemployment across the UK. Unemployment in the region was 12,000 lower at 164,000 between January and March; the drop of 0.2% took the rate to 3.4%. At 6.8% London was the highest; the South East had the lowest rate with the UK rate at 4.8%.

The South East had the highest employment rate at 78.5%, this compared with 69.1% in Northern Ireland; the UK rate was 75.2%.

Public sector employment in the SE increased by 4.6% to 668,000, which was 15.1% of the workforce. At 25.9% Northern Ireland had the highest level of public sector employment which compared to 14.5% in London which was the lowest.

In December, average earnings in the SE grew to £761 per week. London had the highest average earnings of £871 and the lowest average earnings of £584 were recorded in the North East and the East Midlands.

Earnings in Scotland increased the most in the UK by £37 per week whereas the biggest drop in wages was £50 in the East Midlands. The rate of annual pay growth was 4.0% for total pay and 4.6% for regular pay. In real terms, total pay is growing at a faster rate than inflation at 3.1%, with regular pay growth at 3.6%. Public sector pay grew at 5.6% compared with 3.7% in the private sector.

The public sector saw the highest estimated growth in total pay. All sectors saw positive growth, although construction (1.2%) and manufacturing (1.9%) had smaller growth than the other sectors. This is an improvement on the growth rates in April to June 2020, the three-month period with the biggest falls in average pay, when all sectors except for the public sector had negative growth rates.

Housing

The SE’s average property price increased by 0.9% in March 2021 to £348,615. The uplift took the annual increase to 7.9%. In comparison, UK prices grew by 1.8% to £256,405 during March, an annual growth rate of 10.2%.

Scotland’s economy slow out of the first Lockdown but wages jump

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Official ONS figures which reflect the economy opening up after the first lockdown show the Scotland’s performance relative to other parts of the UK.

These stats compare GDP in the quarter ended September 2020 with the same quarter a year earlier. These showed that Scotland’s growth was -9.4% compared with -21.9% the previous quarter. This placed Scotland tenth (previous ranking seventh) out of the twelve UK ‘regions’.

Northern Ireland topped the table with growth of -2.9% whilst UK growth over the same period was -7.5%. The West Midlands was bottom, posting growth of -11.3%.

In the same report, the ONS’s figures for the standalone quarter to September 2020 showed Scotland post growth of 15.8% compared with -19.1% in April to June 2020.

This placed Scotland eighth (previous ranking also eighth) out of the twelve UK ‘regions’. The South West was top with quarterly growth of 19.9% whilst London was bottom, posting growth of 13.3%; UK growth was 16.9%.

Labour

Data from the ONS showed the Job Retention Scheme continued to mitigate unemployment across the UK. Unemployment in the country was down 4,000 at 119,000 between January and March; the drop of 0.2% took the rate to 4.3%. At 6.8% London was the highest; the South East had the lowest rate of 3.4%, with the UK rate at 4.8%.

The South East had the highest employment rate at 78.5%, this compared with 69.1% in Northern Ireland and 74.4% in Scotland where 2.7m are employed; the UK rate was 75.2%.

Public sector employment in Scotland increased by 2.1% to 573,000, which was 21.8% of the workforce. At 25.9% Northern Ireland had the highest level of public sector employment which compared to 14.5% in London which was the lowest.

In December, average earnings in the Scotland increased to £665 per week. London had the highest average earnings of £871 and the lowest average earnings of £584 were recorded in the North East and the East Midlands.

Earnings in Scotland increased the most in the UK by £37 per week whereas the biggest drop in wages was £50 in the East Midlands. The rate of annual pay growth was 4.0% for total pay and 4.6% for regular pay. In real terms, total pay is growing at a faster rate than inflation at 3.1%, with regular pay growth at 3.6%. Public sector pay grew at 5.6% compared with 3.7% in the private sector.

The public sector saw the highest estimated growth in total pay. All sectors saw positive growth, although construction (1.2%) and manufacturing (1.9%) had smaller growth than the other sectors. This is an improvement on the growth rates in April to June 2020, the three-month period with the biggest falls in average pay, when all sectors except for the public sector had negative growth rates.

Housing

Scotland’s average property price increased by 2.8% in March 2021 to £166,566. The uplift took the annual increase to 10.6%. In comparison, UK prices grew by 1.8% to £256,405 during March, an annual growth rate of 10.2%.