The State of Britain

Staff Writer

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London’s economy the slowest out of the first Lockdown and the capital’s unemployment the highest in the UK

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Official ONS figures for an earlier period which reflects 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 London’s growth was -7.6% compared with -16.3% the previous quarter. This placed London seventh (previous ranking first) 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 London post growth of 13.3% compared with -17.2% in April to June 2020.

This placed London last (previous ranking third) out of the twelve UK ‘regions’. The South West was top with quarterly growth of 19.9%; UK growth was 16.9%.

In this period, the London best sector was accommodation at 180% compared with real estate at 1.8%. Production, Construction and Services were 18%, 61% and 12%.

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 345,000 between January and March; this took the rate to 6.8%. 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 74.8% in London where 5.1m are employed; the UK rate was 75.2%.

Public sector employment in London increased by 3.4% to 767,000, which was 14.5% 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 London grew to £871 per week. London had the highest average earnings 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 London average property price increased by 1% in March 2021 to £500,310. The uplift took the annual increase to 3.7%. In comparison, UK prices grew by 1.8% to £256,405 during March, an annual growth rate of 10.2%.

The East Midland’s economy powers out of the first Lockdown but wages drop significantly

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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 EM’s growth was -6.4% compared with -23.5% the previous quarter. This placed the EM sixth (previous ranking eleventh) 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 EM post growth of 19.6% compared with -18.5% in April to June 2020.

This placed the EM second (previous ranking fifth) 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 EM’s best sector was accommodation at 248% compared with agriculture at -1.3%. Production, Construction and Services were 25%, 35% 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 28,000 at 119,000 between January and March; this took the rate to 4.9%. 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 75.3% in the EM where 2.3m are employed; the UK rate was 75.2%.

Public sector employment in the EM increased by 2.1% to 360,000, which was 16.1% 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 EM grew to £672 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 EM’s average property price increased by 1.9% in March 2021 to £219,950. The uplift took the annual increase to 12.4%. In comparison, UK prices grew by 1.8% to £256,405 during March, an annual growth rate of 10.2%.

The East of England’s economy grows by 18.8% after the first Lockdown

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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 EE’s growth was -8.2% compared with -22.5% the previous quarter. This placed the EE eighth (previous ranking ninth) 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 EE post growth of 18.8% compared with -21.1% in April to June 2020.

This placed the EE sixth (previous ranking twelfth) 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 EE’s best sector was accommodation at 275% compared with agriculture at 0.1%. Production, Construction and Services were plus 21%, 55% and 16%.

Labour

Data from the ONS showed the Job Retention Scheme continued to mitigate unemployment across the UK. Unemployment in the region was 19,000 lower at 124,000 between January and March; the drop of 0.6% 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 78% in the EE where 3.1m are employed; the UK rate was 75.2%.

Public sector employment in the EE increased by 3% to 432,000, which was 15.4% 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 EE dropped to £672 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 national 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 EE’s average property price increased by 1.2% in March 2021 to £315,059. The uplift took the annual increase to 9.4%. In comparison, UK prices grew by 1.8% to £256,405 during March, an annual growth rate of 10.2%.

Despite being severely impacted by the pandemic estimates suggest the East of England outperforms all other regions over 5 years and public debt hovers around 100% of GDP

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A nowcast for the UK ‘regions’ for the 12 months ended December 2020 on a rolling 4 quarter basis, published by the Economic Statistic Centre of Excellence (‘ESCoE’), has estimated that the East Midlands was ‘best’ with a fall of 8.9%, with London’s 12.9% contraction the ‘worst’.

ESCoE also gave estimates of regional growth over a longer period. Despite experiencing some of the largest declines in activity in 2020, London, the East of England and the West Midlands have outperformed other regions over the five years to 2020. The North East of England’s weak economic performance over this period is an outlier with the devolved parts of the UK putting in middling to poor performances.

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.

ONS GDP to March 2020

Official ONS figures for an earlier period which reflects the start of the Covid 19 turmoil show each regions performance relative to other parts of the UK.

These stats are for the period six months before ESCoE’s estimates shown above and compare GDP in the quarter ended June 2020 with the same quarter a year earlier. These showed London topped the table with growth of -16.3% whilst UK growth over the same period was -20.7%. The West Midlands was the worst performer and grew by -24.7%.

In the same report, the ONS’s figures for the standalone quarter to June 2020 showed Northern Ireland was top with quarterly growth of -13.6% whilst the West Midlands was bottom, posting growth of -21%.

UK stats

Stats for the UK as a whole are more recent.  UK GDP grew by 1% in the three months to December 2020 with GDP growth of to 1.2% in December itself. Over the quarter, services were up by 0.6%, construction up by 4.6% and production was up by 1.8%. Annually GDP has fallen by 7.8%.

According to Eurostat, GDP decreased by 0.6% in the euro area and by 0.4% in the EU27 during the third quarter of 2020. This meant that annually GDP fell by 6.8% in the euro area and by 6.4% in the EU27.

Over the quarter the data showed that the German economy grew by 0.1%, France by -1.3%, with Italy at -2%. Annually, Germany contracted by 3.9% and France by 5% with a 6.6% decline recorded in Italy. The Swedish economy grew by 0.5% over the quarter which meant an annual contraction of 2.5%.

The UK labour market, supported by the Job Retention Scheme, is deteriorating, with the level of employment falling by 541,000 to 32.39m and the level of unemployment rising to 1.74m or 5.1%.

The euro area unemployment rate was 8.3% in December 2020, with the EU27 rate at 7.5%. The lowest unemployment rate in October 2020 was 3.1% in the Czech Republic and the highest was 16.7% in Greece.

UK inflation was 0.9% in January 2021 with Euro area annual inflation at 0.9% and European Union annual inflation at 1.2%.

The UK public sector deficit in January 2021 was £8.8bn, £18.4bn more than in January 2020. Debt at the end of October 2020 was £2114bn which was 97.9% of GDP.

The impact of the pandemic on Yorkshire and the Humber is 22% and the region sees the biggest drop in wages

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A nowcast for Y&H for the 12 months ended December 2020, published by the Economic Statistic Centre of Excellence (‘ESCoE’), has estimated that the Y&H economy contracted by 10.8%.

This ranked Y&H eighth in the UK. Over the same period the East Midlands was ‘best’ with a fall of 8.9%, with London’s 12.9% contraction the ‘worst’.

ESCoE also gave estimates of regional growth over a longer period. Over the last five years, London, the East of England and the West Midlands have grown relative to the other parts of the UK despite experiencing some of the largest declines in activity in 2020.

At the bottom of the table, the North East of England is an outlier in terms of weak economic performance and the devolved administrations have also posted below average results. The Y&H was ranked eighth.

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.

ONS GDP to June 2020

Official ONS figures for an earlier period which reflects the full effect of the first lockdown show the region’s performance relative to other parts of the UK.

These stats are for the period six months before ESCoE’s estimates shown above and compare GDP in the quarter ended June 2020 with the same quarter a year earlier. These showed that Y&H growth was -21.7% compared with -2.9% the previous quarter. This placed Y&H sixth (previous ranking also sixth) out of the twelve UK ‘regions’.

London topped the table with growth of -16.3% whilst UK growth over the same period was -20.7%. The West Midlands was bottom, posting growth of -24.7%.

In the same report, the ONS’s figures for the standalone quarter to June 2020 showed Y&H post growth of -18.7% compared with -2.8% in January to March 2020.

This placed Y&H fifth (previous ranking tenth) out of the twelve UK ‘regions’. Northern Ireland was top with quarterly growth of -13.6% whilst the West Midlands was bottom, posting growth of -21%. UK growth was -18.8%.

In this period, Y&H’s best sector was information at -0.2% whilst accommodation fell by -76.2%. Production, Construction and Services were -18.4%, -39.9% and -17.2%.

Labour

Data from the ONS showed the Job Retention Scheme continued to mitigate unemployment across the UK. Unemployment in the region was 11,000 higher at 138,000 between October and December; the uplift of 0.4% took the rate to 5.1%. At 7% London was the highest; Northern Ireland had the lowest rate of 3.6%, with the UK rate at 5.1%.

The South East had the highest employment rate at 78.6%, this compared with 69.4% in Northern Ireland and 74.3% in Y&H where 2.5m are employed; the UK rate was 75%.

Public sector employment in Y&H increased by 1.9% to 473,000, which was 18.5% of the workforce. At 25.3% Northern Ireland had the highest level of public sector employment which compared to 14.3% in London which was the lowest.

In December, average earnings in Y&H increased to £574 per week. London had the highest average earnings of £862 and the lowest average earnings of £555 were recorded in North East.

Earnings in Wales increased the most in the UK by £44 per week whereas Y&H posted the biggest drop in wages at £27. The rate of annual pay growth was 4.7% for total pay and 4.1% for regular pay. In real terms, total pay is growing at a faster rate than inflation at 3.8%, with regular pay growth at 3.3%.

The finance and business services sector saw the highest estimated growth in total pay, at 6.8%. All sectors saw positive growth, although construction (1.9%) and manufacturing (1.5%) 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 these sectors except for the public sector had negative growth rates. Public sector pay growth is now 4.3%.

Housing

Y&H’s average property price increased by 1.1% in December 2020 to £182,907. The uplift took the annual increase to 10.4%. In comparison, UK prices grew by 1.2% to £251,500 during September, an annual growth rate of 8.5%.

The West Midlands impacted by the pandemic more than other UK regions but over 5 years the performance is good

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A nowcast for the WM for the 12 months ended December 2020, published by the Economic Statistic Centre of Excellence (‘ESCoE’), has estimated that the WM economy contracted by 12.4%.

This ranked the WM eleventh in the UK. Over the same period the East Midlands was ‘best’ with a fall of 8.9%, with London’s 12.9% contraction the ‘worst’.

ESCoE also gave estimates of regional growth over a longer period. Over the last five years, London, the East of England and the West Midlands have grown relative to the other parts of the UK despite experiencing some of the largest declines in activity in 2020.

At the bottom of the table, the North East of England is an outlier in terms of weak economic performance and the devolved administrations have also posted below average results.

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.

ONS GDP to June 2020

Official ONS figures for an earlier period which reflects the full effect of the first lockdown show the region’s performance relative to other parts of the UK.

These stats are for the period six months before ESCoE’s estimates shown above and compare GDP in the quarter ended June 2020 with the same quarter a year earlier. These showed that WM growth was -24.7% compared with -5.3% the previous quarter. This placed the WM last (previous ranking also last) out of the twelve UK ‘regions’.

London topped the table with growth of -16.3% whilst UK growth over the same period was -20.7%.

In the same report, the ONS’s figures for the standalone quarter to June 2020 showed the WM post growth of -21% compared with -3.5% in January to March 2020.

This placed the WM last (previous ranking ninth) out of the twelve UK ‘regions’. Northern Ireland was top with quarterly growth of -13.6%; UK growth was -18.8%.

In this period, the WM’s best sector was public administration at -0.4% whilst accommodation fell by -75.7%. Production, Construction and Services were -24.3%, -38.8% and -19.0%.

Labour

Data from the ONS showed the Job Retention Scheme continued to mitigate unemployment across the UK. Unemployment in the region was 36,000 higher at 181,000 between October and December; the uplift of 1.2% took the rate to 6.1%. At 7% London was the highest; Northern Ireland had the lowest rate of 3.6%, with the UK rate at 5.1%.

The South East had the highest employment rate at 78.6%, this compared with 69.4% in Northern Ireland and 74% in the WM where 2.8m are employed; the UK rate was 75%.

Public sector employment in the WM increased by 3% to 451.000, which was 16.1% of the workforce. At 25.3% Northern Ireland had the highest level of public sector employment which compared to 14.3% in London which was the lowest.

In December, average earnings in the WM fell to £611 per week. London had the highest average earnings of £862 and the lowest average earnings of £555 were recorded in North East.

Earnings in Wales increased the most in the UK by £44 per week whereas the biggest drop in wages was £27 in Yorkshire and the Humber. The rate of annual pay growth was 4.7% for total pay and 4.1% for regular pay. In real terms, total pay is growing at a faster rate than inflation at 3.8%, with regular pay growth at 3.3%.

The finance and business services sector saw the highest estimated growth in total pay, at 6.8%. All sectors saw positive growth, although construction (1.9%) and manufacturing (1.5%) 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 these sectors except for the public sector had negative growth rates. Public sector pay growth is now 4.3%.

Housing

The WM’s average property price increased by 1.9% in December 2020 to £216,950. The uplift took the annual increase to 9.4%. In comparison, UK prices grew by 1.2% to £251,500 during September, an annual growth rate of 8.5%.

An 18% pandemic induced economic contraction but wages increase the most in the UK

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A nowcast for Wales for the 12 months ended December 2020, published by the Economic Statistic Centre of Excellence (‘ESCoE’), has estimated that the country’s economy contracted by 12.5%. This ranked Wales eleventh in the UK.

Over the same period the East Midlands was ‘best’ with a fall of 8.9%, with London’s 12.9% contraction the ‘worst’.

ESCoE also gave estimates of regional growth over a longer period. Over the last five years, London, the East of England and the West Midlands have grown relative to the other parts of the UK despite experiencing some of the largest declines in activity in 2020.

At the bottom of the table, the North East of England is an outlier in terms of weak economic performance and the devolved administrations have also posted below average results with Wales ranked eleventh.

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.

ONS GDP to June 2020

Official ONS figures for an earlier period which reflects the full effect of the first lockdown show the country’s performance relative to other parts of the UK.

These stats are for the period six months before ESCoE’s estimates shown above and compare GDP in the quarter ended June 2020 with the same quarter a year earlier. These showed that Wales’s growth was -18.3% compared with -3.8% the previous quarter. This placed Wales third (previous ranking seventh) out of the twelve UK ‘regions’.

London topped the table with growth of -16.3% whilst UK growth over the same period was -20.7%. The West Midlands was bottom, posting growth of -24.7%.

In the same report, the ONS’s figures for the standalone quarter to June 2020 showed Wales post growth of -15.1% compared with -2.4% in January to March 2020.

This placed Wales second (previous ranking fourth) out of the twelve UK ‘regions’. Northern Ireland was top with quarterly growth of -13.6% whilst the West Midlands was bottom, posting growth of -21%. UK growth was -18.8%.

Labour

Data from the ONS showed the Job Retention Scheme continued to mitigate unemployment across the UK. Unemployment in the country was 2,000 lower at 68,000 between October and December; the drop of 0.2% took the rate to 4.4%. At 7% London was the highest; Northern Ireland had the lowest rate of 3.6%, with the UK rate at 5.1%.

The South East had the highest employment rate at 78.6%, this compared with 69.4% in Northern Ireland and 72.2% in Wales where 1.4m are employed; the UK rate was 75%.

Public sector employment in Wales increased by 2.9% to 302,000, which was 21.8% of the workforce. At 25.3% Northern Ireland had the highest level of public sector employment which compared to 14.3% in London which was the lowest.

In December, average earnings in Wales increased to £624 per week. London had the highest average earnings of £862 and the lowest average earnings of £555 were recorded in North East.

Earnings in Wales increased the most in the UK by £44 per week whereas the biggest drop in wages was £27 in Yorkshire and the Humber. The rate of annual pay growth was 4.7% for total pay and 4.1% for regular pay. In real terms, total pay is growing at a faster rate than inflation at 3.8%, with regular pay growth at 3.3%.

The finance and business services sector saw the highest estimated growth in total pay, at 6.8%. All sectors saw positive growth, although construction (1.9%) and manufacturing (1.5%) 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 these sectors except for the public sector had negative growth rates. Public sector pay growth is now 4.3%.

Housing

Wales’s average property price increased by 2.3% in December 2020 to £184,195. The drop took the annual increase to 10.7%. In comparison, UK prices grew by 1.2% to £251,500 during September, an annual growth rate of 8.5%.

The South West weathers the pandemic better than most UK regions and economic performance over 5 years is above average

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A nowcast for the SW for the 12 months ended December 2020, published by the Economic Statistic Centre of Excellence (‘ESCoE’), has estimated that the SW economy contracted by 9.6%. This ranked the SW third in the UK.

Over the same period the East Midlands was ‘best’ with a fall of 8.9%, with London’s 12.9% contraction the ‘worst’.

ESCoE also gave estimates of regional growth over a longer period. Over the last five years, London, the East of England and the West Midlands have grown relative to the other parts of the UK despite experiencing some of the largest declines in activity in 2020.

At the bottom of the table, the North East of England is an outlier in terms of weak economic performance and the devolved administrations have also posted below average results. The SW was ranked fourth.

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.

ONS GDP to June 2020

Official ONS figures for an earlier period which reflects the full effect of the first lockdown show the region’s performance relative to other parts of the UK.

These stats are for the period six months before ESCoE’s estimates shown above and compare GDP in the quarter ended June 2020 with the same quarter a year earlier. These showed that the SW’s growth was -21.4% compared with -1.7% the previous quarter. This placed the SW fifth (previous ranking third) out of the twelve UK ‘regions’.

London topped the table with growth of -16.3% whilst UK growth over the same period was -20.7%. The West Midlands was bottom, posting growth of -24.7%.

In the same report, the ONS’s figures for the standalone quarter to June 2020 showed the SW post growth of -19.1% compared with -2.8% in January to March 2020.

This placed the SW seventh (previous ranking also seventh) out of the twelve UK ‘regions’. Northern Ireland was top with quarterly growth of -13.6% whilst the West Midlands was bottom, posting growth of -21%. UK growth was -18.8%.

In this period, the SW’s best sector was public administration at -1.3% whilst accommodation fell by -75.2%. Production, Construction and Services were -21.5%, -38.5% and -17.3%.

Labour

Data from the ONS showed the Job Retention Scheme continued to mitigate unemployment across the UK. Unemployment in the region was 11,000 higher at 127,000 between October and December; the uplift of 0.4% took the rate to 4.5%. At 7% London was the highest; Northern Ireland had the lowest rate of 3.6%, with the UK rate at 5.1%.

The South East had the highest employment rate at 78.6%, this compared with 69.4% in Northern Ireland and 76.9% in the SW where 2.6m are employed; the UK rate was 75%.

Public sector employment in the SW increased by 3.8% to 455,000, which was 16.7% of the workforce. At 25.3% Northern Ireland had the highest level of public sector employment which compared to 14.3% in London which was the lowest.

In December, average earnings in the SW dropped to £621 per week. London had the highest average earnings of £862 and the lowest average earnings of £555 were recorded in North East.

Earnings in Wales increased the most in the UK by £44 per week whereas the biggest drop in wages was £27 in Yorkshire and the Humber. The rate of annual pay growth was 4.7% for total pay and 4.1% for regular pay. In real terms, total pay is growing at a faster rate than inflation at 3.8%, with regular pay growth at 3.3%.

The finance and business services sector saw the highest estimated growth in total pay, at 6.8%. All sectors saw positive growth, although construction (1.9%) and manufacturing (1.5%) 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 these sectors except for the public sector had negative growth rates. Public sector pay growth is now 4.3%.

Housing

The SW’s average property price increased by 2.3% in December 2020 to £282,388. The uplift took the annual increase to 10.2%. In comparison, UK prices grew by 1.2% to £251,500 during September, an annual growth rate of 8.5%.

The SE economy contracts by 23% during the first lockdown but employment remains high

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A nowcast for the SE for the 12 months ended December 2020, published by the Economic Statistic Centre of Excellence (‘ESCoE’), has estimated that the SE economy contracted by 10.5%. This ranked the SE seventh in the UK.

Over the same period the East Midlands was ‘best’ with a fall of 8.9%, with London’s 12.9% contraction the ‘worst’.

ESCoE also gave estimates of regional growth over a longer period. Over the last five years, London, the East of England and the West Midlands have grown relative to the other parts of the UK despite experiencing some of the largest declines in activity in 2020.

At the bottom of the table, the North East of England is an outlier in terms of weak economic performance and the devolved administrations have also posted below average results. The SE was ranked tenth.

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.

ONS GDP to June 2020

Official ONS figures for an earlier period which reflects the full effect of the first lockdown show the region’s performance relative to other parts of the UK.

These stats are for the period six months before ESCoE’s estimates shown above and compare GDP in the quarter ended June 2020 with the same quarter a year earlier. These showed that the SE’s growth was -23.3% compared with -4.9% the previous quarter. This placed the SE tenth (previous ranking eleventh) out of the twelve UK ‘regions’.

London topped the table with growth of -16.3% whilst UK growth over the same period was -20.7%. The West Midlands was bottom, posting growth of -24.7%.

In the same report, the ONS’s figures for the standalone quarter to June 2020 showed the SE post growth of -20.6% compared with -3.4% in January to March 2020.

This placed the SE tenth (previous ranking eighth) out of the twelve UK ‘regions’. Northern Ireland was top with quarterly growth of -13.6% whilst the West Midlands was bottom, posting growth of -21%. UK growth was -18.8%.

In this period, the SE’s best sector was public administration at -1.7% whilst accommodation fell by -74.6%. Production, Construction and Services were -22.6%, -44.2% and -18.6%.

Labour

Data from the ONS showed the Job Retention Scheme continued to mitigate unemployment across the UK. Unemployment in the region was 22,000 lower at 176,000 between October and December; the drop of 0.4% took the rate to 4.4%. At 7% London was the highest; Northern Ireland had the lowest rate of 3.6%, with the UK rate at 5.1%.

The South East had the highest employment rate at 78.6%, this compared with 69.4% in Northern Ireland. In the SE 2.6m are employed; the UK rate was 75%.

Public sector employment in the SE increased by 4.2% to 661,000, which was 14.9% of the workforce. At 25.3% Northern Ireland had the highest level of public sector employment which compared to 14.3% in London which was the lowest.

In December, average earnings in the SE increased to £727 per week. London had the highest average earnings of £862 and the lowest average earnings of £555 were recorded in North East.

Earnings in Wales increased the most in the UK by £44 per week whereas the biggest drop in wages was £27 in Yorkshire and the Humber. The rate of annual pay growth was 4.7% for total pay and 4.1% for regular pay. In real terms, total pay is growing at a faster rate than inflation at 3.8%, with regular pay growth at 3.3%.

The finance and business services sector saw the highest estimated growth in total pay, at 6.8%. All sectors saw positive growth, although construction (1.9%) and manufacturing (1.5%) 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 these sectors except for the public sector had negative growth rates. Public sector pay growth is now 4.3%.

Housing

The SE’s average property price increased by 0.1% in December 2020 to £341,007. The uplift took the annual increase to 6.1%. In comparison, UK prices grew by 1.2% to £251,500 during September, an annual growth rate of 8.5%.

The first lockdown knocks Scotland’s economy by 22% but unemployment remains stable

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A nowcast for Scotland for the 12 months ended December 2020, published by the Economic Statistic Centre of Excellence (‘ESCoE’), has estimated that the country’s economy contracted by 9.5%. This ranked Scotland second in the UK.

Over the same period the East Midlands was ‘best’ with a fall of 8.9%, with London’s 12.9% contraction the ‘worst’.

ESCoE also gave estimates of regional growth over a longer period. Over the last five years, London, the East of England and the West Midlands have grown relative to the other parts of the UK despite experiencing some of the largest declines in activity in 2020.

At the bottom of the table, the North East of England is an outlier in terms of weak economic performance and the devolved administrations have also posted below average results. Scotland was ranked seventh.

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.

ONS GDP to June 2020

Official ONS figures for an earlier period which reflects the full effect of the first lockdown show the country’s performance relative to other parts of the UK.

These stats are for the period six months before ESCoE’s estimates shown above and compare GDP in the quarter ended June 2020 with the same quarter a year earlier. These showed that Scotland’s growth was -21.9% compared with -2.6% the previous quarter. This placed Scotland seventh (previous ranking fifth) out of the twelve UK ‘regions’.

London topped the table with growth of -16.3% whilst UK growth over the same period was -20.7%. The West Midlands was bottom, posting growth of -24.7%.

In the same report, the ONS’s figures for the standalone quarter to June 2020 showed Scotland post growth of -19.4% compared with -2.5% in January to March 2020.

This placed Scotland eighth (previous ranking fifth) out of the twelve UK ‘regions’. Northern Ireland was top with quarterly growth of -13.6% whilst the West Midlands was bottom, posting growth of -21%. UK growth was -18.8%.

Labour

Data from the ONS showed the Job Retention Scheme continued to mitigate unemployment across the UK. Unemployment in the country was 3,000 lower at 123,000 between October and December; the drop of 0.1% took the rate to 4.5%. At 7% London was the highest; Northern Ireland had the lowest rate of 3.6%, with the UK rate at 5.1%.

The South East had the highest employment rate at 78.6%, this compared with 69.4% in Northern Ireland and 73.7% in Scotland where 2.5m are employed; the UK rate was 75%.

Public sector employment in Scotland increased by 1.8% to 570,000, which was 21.4% of the workforce. At 25.3% Northern Ireland had the highest level of public sector employment which compared to 14.3% in London which was the lowest.

In December, average earnings in Scotland fell to £628 per week. London had the highest average earnings of £862 and the lowest average earnings of £555 were recorded in North East.

Earnings in Wales increased the most in the UK by £44 per week whereas the biggest drop in wages was £27 in Yorkshire and the Humber. The rate of annual pay growth was 4.7% for total pay and 4.1% for regular pay. In real terms, total pay is growing at a faster rate than inflation at 3.8%, with regular pay growth at 3.3%.

The finance and business services sector saw the highest estimated growth in total pay, at 6.8%. All sectors saw positive growth, although construction (1.9%) and manufacturing (1.5%) 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 these sectors except for the public sector had negative growth rates. Public sector pay growth is now 4.3%.

Housing

Scotland’s average property price fell by 1.2% in December 2020 to £162,983. The drop took the annual increase to 8.4%. In comparison, UK prices grew by 1.2% to £251,500 during September, an annual growth rate of 8.5%.