The State of Britain

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Unemployment in the capital still the UK’s highest and London’s strong economic bounce back in 2020 curtailed by the second lockdown

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A nowcast for London 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 capital’s economy contracted by 13.1%.

This ranked the city eleventh in the UK (previous ranking twelfth). 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 reflect a mix of continued recovery from the first lockdown but also a slowdown from the second lockdown show the city’s performance relative to other parts of the UK.

The ONS’s figures for the quarter to December 2020 showed London post growth of 3.1% compared with 13.3% to September 2020.

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

In this period, London’s best sector was information services at 8.6% whilst accommodation fell by 15. Overall Production, Construction and Services were 0.4%, 3.4% and 3.1%.

Labour

Data from the ONS showed the Job Retention Scheme continued to mitigate unemployment across the UK. Unemployment in the city fell by 38,000 to 330,000 between March and May 2021; the drop of 0.7% took the rate to 6.5%. 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 74.5% in the capital where 3.1m are employed; the UK rate was 74.7%.

Public sector employment in London increased by 4.3% to 780,000 in the year to March 2021, which was 14.8% of the workforce and the lowest in the UK. At 25.9% Northern Ireland had the highest level of public sector employment.

Productivity

ONS figures also showed that in 2020, output per hour worked grew by 2.7% in London which ranked the city third 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 city attracted £6.4bn of R&D spend in 2019, up from £6bn in 2018. This ranked London third in the UK (previous ranking third). 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 city’s average property price fell by 0.7% in May to £497,948. The drop took the annual increase to 5.2%. In comparison, UK prices grew by 0.9% to £254,624, an annual growth rate of 10%.

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

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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%.

London’s economy battered by the pandemic and the capital’s unemployment the highest in the UK

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A nowcast for London for the 12 months ended December 2020, published by the Economic Statistic Centre of Excellence (‘ESCoE’), has estimated that the capital’s economy contracted by 12.9%. This ranked London bottom in the UK.  Over the same period the East Midlands was ‘best’ with a fall of 8.9%.

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 capital’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 London’s growth was -16.3% compared with +1.5% the previous quarter. This placed London top (previous ranking also top) out of the twelve UK ‘regions’.

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 London post growth of -16.6% compared with -1.5% in January to March 2020.

This placed London third (previous ranking first) 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%.

In this period, London’s best sector was real estate at -1.4% whilst accommodation fell by -77%. Production, Construction and Services were -15.5%, -45.5% and -15.4%.

Labour

Data from the ONS showed the Job Retention Scheme continued to mitigate unemployment across the UK. Unemployment in the capital was 55,000 higher at 356,000 between October and December; the uplift of 1% took the rate to 7%. 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 74.7% in London where 4.6m are employed; the UK rate was 75%.

Public sector employment in London increased by 3.6% to 762,000, which was 14.3% of the workforce. At 25.3% Northern Ireland had the highest level of public sector employment, London was the lowest.

In December, 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

London’s average property price fell by 1.1% in December 2020 to £496,066. The drop took the annual increase to 3.5%. In comparison, UK prices grew by 1.2% to £251,500 during September, an annual growth rate of 8.5%.

The London economy shrinks by 7% and unemployment jumps to 6%

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A nowcast for London for the 12 months ended September 2020 on a rolling 4 quarter basis, published by the Economic Statistic Centre of Excellence (‘ESCoE’), has estimated that the London economy contracted by 11.2%.

This ranked London eleventh in the UK and suggests the capital’s economy has so far coped ‘poorly’ with the pandemic relative to the other eleven UK ‘regions’ on this metric. Over the same period the North East was ‘best’ with a fall of 6.5%, with Wales’s 11.4% contraction the ‘worst’; the UK decline according to these figures was c8%.

However, the total percentage change in the London GDP relative to the end of 2019 is about -7%. This compares with -8% across the UK and about -16% in the North East.

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 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 March 2020 with the same quarter a year earlier. These showed that London’s growth was +1.5% compared with +5% the previous quarter. This placed London top (previous ranking top) out of the twelve UK ‘regions’.

UK growth over the same period was -2.2%. The West Midlands was the worst performer and grew by -5.3%. London was the only region to show positive growth.

In the same report, the ONS’s figures for the standalone quarter to March 2020 showed London post growth of -1.5% compared with +0.5% in October to December 2019.

This placed London top (previous ranking second) out of the twelve UK ‘regions’. No region showed positive growth. Northern Ireland was bottom, posting growth of -4.5%.

In this period, London’s best sector was finance with growth of 2.6% but electricity fell by 11.3%. Production, Construction and Services were -2.9%, -4.7% and -1.4%.

Labour

Data from the ONS showed the Job Retention Scheme continued to depress unemployment across the UK. Unemployment in the capital was 60,000 higher at 301,000 between July and September; the uplift of 1.2% took the rate to 6%. At 6.7% the North East 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 78.3%, this compared with 70.5% in Northern Ireland and 75.2% in London where 4.7m are employed; the UK rate was 75.3%.

Housing

The London average property price increased by 0.8% in September 2020 to £496,485. The uplift took the annual increase to 4.1%. In comparison, UK prices grew by 1.7% to £244,513 during September, an annual growth rate of 4.7%.

The capital’s economy shrinks by 7.4% following lockdown but data for an earlier pre-pandemic period shows strong growth with a big uplift in production

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A nowcast for London for the 12 months ended June 2020 on a rolling 4 quarter basis, published by the Economic Statistic Centre of Excellence (‘ESCoE’), has estimated that the capital’s economy contracted by 7.4%.

This ranked the city last in the UK and suggests the capital’s economy has so far coped ‘poorer’ with the pandemic relative to the other eleven UK ‘regions’. Over the same period the East Midlands was ‘best’ with a fall of 4.5%, with London’s contraction the ‘worst’; the UK decline according to the Office for National Statistics (‘ONS’) figures was 5.3%.

ESCoE is a partnership of research institutions and the ONS and has highlighted that during these unprecedented times, 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 December 2019

Official ONS figures for an earlier period which reflects Brexit uncertainty rather than Covid 19 turmoil, show the capital’s performance relative to other parts of the UK. Following its first publication of quarterly GDP estimates for the regions in September 2019, the ONS has now published its fifth estimate for London, the other eight English regions, and Wales.  GDP figures have been available for the UK since the 1940s, for Scotland since 2002 and Northern Ireland since 2013.

These stats are for the period six months before ESCoE’s estimates shown above and compare GDP in the quarter ended December 2019 with the same quarter a year earlier. These showed that London’s growth was 5%, the same as the previous quarter. This placed the capital first (previous ranking also first) out of the twelve UK ‘regions’.

London topped the table whilst UK growth over the same period was 0.9%. The West Midlands was again the worst performer and contracted by 2.7%. The North East, Wales, East Midlands and the North West were the other ‘regions’ in the UK to suffer a decline.

In the same report, the ONS’s figures highlighted that the standalone quarter to December 2019 showed a worsening picture in London with the data poorer than the previous quarter. The capital’s economy grew by 0.5% in October to December 2019, following +1.5% in July to September 2019.

This placed London second (previous ranking first) out of the twelve UK ‘regions. London was one of five regions of the UK that saw their economies grow but overall UK growth was flat.

The SW was top with quarterly growth of 0.8% whilst the North East was bottom, posting a drop of 1.3%.

In this period, London’s best sector was water supply with growth of 14.7% but mining fell by 6.4%. Overall production was +3.2%, construction -0.2%, services 0.4% and agriculture -5.3%.

Labour

Data from the ONS showed the Job Retention Scheme continued to depress unemployment across the UK. Unemployment in the city was 4,000 lower at 235,000 between April and June; the drop of 0.1% took the rate to 4.6%. At 5.2% the North East was the highest; Northern Ireland had the lowest rate of 2.5%, with the UK rate at 3.9%.

The South East had the highest employment rate at 79.7%, this compared with 71.7% in Northern Ireland and 76.5% in London where 4.8m are employed; the UK rate was 76.4%.

Housing

The capital’s average property price fell by 1.6% in April 2020 to £480,425. The drop took the annual increase to 2.3%. In comparison, UK prices dropped by 0.2% to £234,612 during April, an annual growth rate of 2.6%.

The ONS data is based on completed housing transactions. Typically, a house purchase can take 6 to 8 weeks to reach completion so the price data in the April figures will therefore reflect those completions that occurred before lockdown.

This is the first publication of the UK HPI since it was suspended in May 2020. The UK Property Transactions Statistics for April 2020 showed that that between March 2020 and April 2020, transactions decreased by 55.5%.

Average incomes in Kensington over £50K more than in Nottingham

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This month the ONS published regional household disposal income figures for 2018. Total gross disposable household income (GDHI) in the UK in 2018 was £1.4bn. Of that, 86.3% was in England, 7.6% was in Scotland, 3.8% was in Wales and 2.3% was in Northern Ireland.

The average UK income per head after direct and indirect taxes were taken off was £21,109.  England was the only country above the UK average at £21,609 but growth in incomes was best in Scotland and Northern Ireland at 5.1% and 4.7%. England’s growth was the same as the UK at 4.6%; Wales grew by 4.4%.

At a regional level, London had the highest GDHI per head where, on average, each person had £29,362 available to spend or save; the North East had the lowest at £16,995 which compares with a UK average of £21,109.

At a local level, Kensington and Chelsea and Hammersmith and Fulham district had the highest GDHI per head at £63,286 with Nottingham the lowest at £13,138. All the top 10 local areas were in London or the South East with the bottom 10 within the North West, Yorkshire and The Humber, East Midlands, West Midlands, and Northern Ireland regions.

The poorest areas of the capital were Barking at £20,673, beating Hackney at £21,118. Barking was ranked 65th in the UK but this was over 100 places above bottom placed Nottingham and Leicester.

In terms of regional growth, the largest increase was in London at 5.2% with the smallest in the East Midlands at 3.6%.

At the local level, Kensington & Chelsea and Hammersmith & Fulham was again best in the UK with growth of 7.6% whereas Luton was the worst and only grew by 0.9%. Westminster was the worst London performer with growth of 1.8%, a ranking of 175th.

Labour

More data from the ONS showed unemployment in the capital was 10,000 higher at 234,000 between February and April; the uplift of 0.2% took the rate to 4.6%. Despite narrowing the gap with the West Midlands (4.8%), at 5.2% the North East was still the highest; Northern Ireland had the lowest rate of 2.3%, with the UK rate at 3.9%.

The South East had the highest employment rate again at 79.5% which compared with 76.4% in London where 4.8m are employed; the UK rate was 76.4%.

Public sector employment in London increased by 1.4% in March to 746.000, which was 13.9% of the workforce. At 25.2% Northern Ireland had the highest level of public sector employment, London was the lowest.

In March, average earnings in London increased by £41 to £847 per week. London had the highest average earnings with the lowest recorded in Northern Ireland at £537.

Earnings in the NE increased the most in the UK by £60 per week whereas the biggest drop in wages was £37 in Scotland.

In the UK overall, average earnings grew by 1.7% or by 0.4% after inflation. If bonuses are included real pay fell by 0.4%.

The public sector saw the highest estimated growth, at 3.2% for regular pay, while negative growth was seen in the construction sector, estimated at negative 1.8%. Both the wholesaling, retailing, hotels and restaurants sector and the manufacturing sector saw very weak growth at 0.1% for regular pay.

Housing

Estimates of private sector rents for the year to March 2020 were published by the ONS this month.

The median monthly rent was an all time high of £700 in England between 1 April 2019 and 31 March 2020. London had the highest median monthly rent at £1,425 with the North East the lowest at £495. Within local authorities the difference in monthly rental price between the most and least expensive was nearly £2,100.

In London rental prices ranged from £1159 to £1,841 with £1425 the median.

Data for the 12 months to May 2020 showed private rental prices paid by tenants in the UK rose by 1.5%, unchanged from the previous month. Rental prices grew by 1.5% in England, 1.2% in Wales and 0.6% in Scotland.

Rental prices increased the most in the South West, up by 2.5%, with the lowest price growth in the North East at 0.8%, London recorded 1.2%.

According to the ONS the South West is also projected to have the highest regional rate of growth in households over the next ten years, at 9%. This compares with 7.8% in London and 4.3% in the NE (the lowest).

Overall the number of households in England is projected to increase by 1.6m (7.1%) from 23.2m in 2018 to 24.8m in 2028. London is forecast to have 3.8m households by 2028.

Given the closure of the housing market following lockdown the ONS has suspended its property price index until further notice.

At -2.2% the capital’s economy shrinks faster than most other regions following lockdown but pre-pandemic data shows earlier growth of 5%

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A quarterly nowcast for London for the 3 months ended March 2020 which captures the start of lockdown, published by the Economic Statistic Centre of Excellence (‘ESCoE’), has estimated that the London economy contracted by 2.2%. ESCoE is a partnership of research institutions and the Office for National Statistics (‘ONS’).

This ranked London ninth and suggests the capital’s economy has so far coped poorly with the pandemic relative to the other eleven ‘regions’ of the UK. Over the same period the East Midlands was ‘best’ with a fall of 1% with Northern Ireland’s 3.9% contraction the ‘worst’; the UK decline was 2%.

For the 12 months ended March 2020 on a rolling 4 quarter basis, ESCoE has estimated that the capital’s growth has dropped from 3.3% to 1.8%.

This ranked London first (previous ranking also top) and suggests the city has held its position relative to the other eleven parts of the UK. Over the same period UK growth was 0.5%; growth in the East of England (ranked second) was 1.4%; and growth in the East Midlands (ranked twelfth) was -0.6%.

ONS GDP to September 2019

Official ONS figures for an earlier period which reflects Brexit uncertainty rather than Covid 19 turmoil show the capital staying top relative to other parts of the UK. Following its first publication of quarterly GDP estimates for the regions in September 2019, the ONS has now published its fourth estimate for London, the other eight English regions, and Wales.  GDP figures have been available for the UK since the 1940s, for Scotland since 2002 and Northern Ireland since 2013.

These stats are for the period six months before ESCoE’s estimates shown above and compare GDP in the quarter ended September 2019 with the same quarter a year earlier. These showed London grew by 5%, a deterioration of 0.3% on the previous quarter. This placed London top (previous ranking also first) out of the twelve UK ‘regions’.

London’s growth of 5% compared with UK growth over the same period at 1.2%. The West Midlands was the worst performer and contracted by 1.5%. The East of England and the North West were the other two ‘regions’ in the UK to suffer a decline.

In the same report, the ONS’s figures also highlighted that the standalone quarter to September 2019 showed an improving picture in London with the data better than the previous quarter. London’s economy grew by 1.4% in July to September 2019, following growth of 1.2% in April to June 2019.

This placed London first (previous ranking also top) out of the twelve UK ‘regions. Four regions of the UK saw their economies contract but overall the UK grew by 0.5%.

The North East of England was second with quarterly growth of 1.3% whilst the North West and Northern Ireland contracted by 0.2%, with the East Midlands posting a drop of 0.3%.

In this period, London’s best sector was education with growth of 8% but mining fell by 16.7%. Overall production grew by 3.3%, services by 1.5% and agriculture by 2.5% but construction fell by 1%.

Labour

More largely pre-pandemic data from the ONS showed unemployment in the capital was 27,000 higher at 239,000 between January and March; the uplift of 0.4% took the rate to 4.7%. At 5.4% the North East was the highest; Northern Ireland had the lowest rate of 2.4%, with the UK rate at 3.9%.

The South East had the highest employment rate at 80.2% which compared with 76.9% in London where 4.9m were employed; the UK rate was 76.6%.

Housing

The capital’s average property price increased by 1.2% over the month to £485,794. The uplift took the annual increase to 4.7%, the highest in the UK. In comparison, UK prices dropped by 0.2% to £231,855 during March, an annual growth rate of 2.1%.

The ONS data is based on completed housing transactions. Typically, a house purchase can take 6 to 8 weeks to reach completion so the price data in the March figures will therefore reflect those completions that occurred before lockdown.

Given the closure of the housing market following lockdown the ONS has suspended its index until further notice.

A significant uplift in the capital’s exports and the City imports £14.5bn of services compared with £219m in Barnet

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HMRC has published the latest regional trade figures which show exports and imports for 2019. Given the time period this data reflects Brexit uncertainty rather than Covid 19 turmoil. 

In the year to December 2019, the overall value of UK trade in goods exports increased by 2.1% to £346bn compared with the same period in 2018. The overall value of imports increased by 0.3% to £483bn.

There was an increase in the annual export value in London along with five of the 12 UK ‘regions’. The capital’s exports increased by 17.2% or £6bn to £44bn which was 13% of the UK total.  

The leading regional exporter remained the SE with £46bn with Northern Ireland the smallest at £9bn. The best performer in percentage terms was London, with Yorkshire & The Humber falling by 6.3%.

There was an increase in the annual import value in London along with five of the 12 UK ‘regions’. The capital’s imports increased by 12% or 8bn to £73bn which was 15% of the UK total.

The biggest regional importer was the SE at £98bn and Northern Ireland was the smallest at £8bn. In percentage terms London added 12% compared with Scotland which reduced imports by 7%.

The USA was London’s largest export market with miscellaneous manufactured articles the best export. Most of the capital’s imported goods came from China with machinery and transport equipment the biggest import.

Services

This month the ONS published data on regional services imports for 2017. The biggest component of services imported into the UK was £51bn of travel. This was 28% of the £181bn UK total imports of services.

London imported £60bn of services value in 2017 of which £15bn was finance activities. The biggest importer of services was London with Northern Ireland importing £1.6bn.

At a local level, the largest importer of non-travel services into the UK was Camden and City of London at £14.5bn, almost double the next largest importer which was Westminster at £7.9bn. Of the 167 local areas, the Western Isles of Scotland imported the least amount, £21m, with Anglesey next at £31m.

As stated above, in the capital the City imported £14.5bn of non-travel services compared with £219m in Barnet.

The data on services exports was released by the ONS last year which showed London exporting £117bn of services which compared with Northern Ireland at £2.9bn.

Other data

The ONS has also published the latest regional construction sector data to December 2019 which again reflects Brexit uncertainty rather than Covid 19 turmoil. Compared with the previous quarter all parts of the UK recorded a decline with London posting a 1.8% drop to £9bn.

The biggest decrease in the UK was 4.6% in the West Midlands; the SE was best with a 0.9% fall. Within construction though 6540 new houses were completed in the capital, an increase of 20% on the previous quarter.

More pre-pandemic data from the ONS showed unemployment in the capital was 12,000 higher at 218,000 between December and February; the uplift of 0.2% took the rate to 4.5%. Northern Ireland had the lowest rate of 2.5% with the NE the highest at 5.6%, the UK rate was 4%.

The South East had the highest employment rate at 80.1% which compared with 76.7% in London where 4.7m are employed; the UK rate was 76.6%.

London’s average property price increased over the month by 0.2% to £476,972. The uplift took the annual increase to 2.3%. In comparison, UK prices dropped by 0.6% to £230,332 during February, an annual growth rate of 1.1%.

Highgate and Edmonton are the wealthiest and poorest areas of the capital, productivity in London is high but the city’s productivity growth is very mixed

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The ONS has published average household disposal income estimates for England and Wales in 2018. The incomes shown are after tax and housing costs are taken off.  The analysis has shown that 87% of local areas had an average household income of between £22,500 and £39,200; within this over a third were between £28,000 and £33,600.

Of the 50 areas with the highest total incomes, 41 were in London, with the lowest incomes more widely spread geographically across England and Wales. The North East, East England, London, and the South East had no local areas in the bottom 50.

The wealthiest area in England and Wales was Mickleover in Derby with incomes of £52,200 and the poorest was Highfield North in Leicester with £12,500. The two areas are 30 miles from each other and ranked 7200 places apart.

The wealthiest area of the capital, which just pipped Kensington and Chelsea, was Highgate, with £51,600. This ranked the area 2nd out of the 7,201 areas recorded. The poorest area of London was the Edmonton area of Enfield with £18,300. This area was ranked 6,949 out of the 7,201 areas recorded.

Unlike most regions of the UK, output per hour in the capital is way above the UK average. Productivity in London was 32% above the norm which unsurprisingly ranked the city top in the UK. The SE and London record high levels of hours worked and their high productivity pulls up the UK average so much that all other regions fall below it.

The ONS has now released data for a longer period and at a subregional level. This gives further insight into London’s performance.

Perhaps the most useful is the 2018 results for the 44 enterprise regions in the UK which comprise the 38 English local enterprise partnerships (LEPs) and six enterprise regions in Scotland, Wales and the border regions.

The SE’s Thames Valley Berkshire LEP had the best productivity (in terms of hours and jobs) in 2018 at 35% above the UK average whereas the West Midland’s Black Country LEP at 24% below was the worst.

Eight of the 44 enterprise regions in the UK recorded productivity above the UK average; at +32%, London’s LEP was ranked second.

In terms of productivity growth between 2010 and 2018 the Coventry and Warwickshire LEP was top with growth of 16%. Twelve economic regions recorded productivity levels lower in 2018 than 2010. The worst performer was the SE’s Buckinghamshire Thames Valley LEP which saw productivity drop by 11%.

Productivity growth in the capital was +1.4%, which ranked London 28th.

All of the capital’s five subregions recorded productivity above the UK average. Inner London – West was top with +48%, with Outer London – East bottom in the city with +12%.

On districts, led by Tower Hamlets (+75%), nineteen of the London’s economic regions recorded productivity above the UK average. Only two dropped below the UK average, with Hackney and Newham recording the lowest productivity at -6%.

The growth in hours between 2010 and 2018 in Inner London – East was 37%, beating the capital’s other subregions, with Outer London – West and North West the lowest, recording 16%. In UK terms these levels of growth were in the top ten of the country’s 41 subregions.

If the increase in economic output is also factored in, then the sub regional performances are mixed. Outer London – West and North West was ranked 1st in the UK with growth of 12%, Inner London – West was placed 10th with growth of 10% and Outer London South was 26th with grown of 2%. In comparison, Outer London – East and North East was ranked 40th, only beating Inner London – East, which saw productivity decline by 10%, the most in the UK.

More data from the ONS showed unemployment in the capital was 3,000 higher at 224,000 between November and January; the slight uplift left the overall rate unchanged at 4.5%. Northern Ireland had the lowest rate of 2.4%, with the North East the highest at 6.2%, with the UK rate at 3.9%.

The South East had the highest employment rate at 80% which compared with 76% in London where 4.8m are employed; the UK rate was 76.5%.

London’s average property price decreased by 1.1% to £476,588, which took the annual increase to 1.4%. In comparison, UK prices decreased by 1.1% to £231,185 during January, an annual growth rate of 1.3%.

London top of the UK growth, productivity and earnings rankings but surprisingly productivity growth is slower than Scotland

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For the 12 months ended December 2019, a nowcast published by the Economic Statistic Centre of Excellence (‘ESCoE’) on a rolling 4 quarter basis, has estimated that the capital’s growth has increased from 2.3% to 3.3%. ESCoE is a partnership of research institutions and the Office for National Statistics (‘ONS’).

This ranked London first (previous ranking also first) and suggests the capital has retained its top position relative to the other eleven parts of the UK. Over the same period UK growth was 1.4% and growth in the East Midlands (ranked twelfth) was 0.1%.

The latest official ONS figures for an earlier period are similar. Following its first publication of quarterly GDP estimates for the regions in September 2019, the ONS has now published its third estimate for London the other eight English regions, and Wales. GDP figures have been available for the UK since the 1940s, for Scotland since 2002 and Northern Ireland since 2013.

These stats are for the period six months before the ESCoE estimates shown above and compare GDP in the quarter ended June 2019 with the same quarter a year earlier. These more volatile figures showed London grew by 4.5%, up from 4.2% growth the previous quarter. This maintained the capital’s first place out of the twelve UK ‘regions.’

UK growth over the same period was 1.4%. The NW was the worst performer and contracted by 0.7%, one of three ‘regions’ in the UK to suffer a decline.

In the same report, the ONS’s figures highlighted that the standalone quarter to June 2019 was poorer for the capital than the previous quarter. London’s economy grew by 1% in April to June 2019, following growth of 1.6% in January to March 2019.

In this period, the star performers in London were the wholesale/retail trade and finance industries which grew by 5.2% and 4.7% but the transportation/storage industry fell by 3.5%.

Overall the services, agriculture and production sectors grew by 1.1%, 0.6% and 0.3% respectively but the construction sector fell by 1.7%. London has experienced strong growth in the production sector relative to 2017 while construction has continued to fall since Quarter 3 (July to Sept) 2017.

Productivity

Unlike most regions of the UK, output per hour in London was above the UK average. Productivity in the capital was 31.6% above the norm which was the best in the UK.

London was one of two regions that had productivity above the UK average in 2018; the other was the SE at +9.1%. These regions record high levels of hours worked and their elevated productivity pulls up the UK average so much that all other regions fall below it. Wales was furthest off the average at -17.2%.

London was also first in the rankings in terms of output per job. The capital’s 40.5% compared with Wales at -18.2%.

In terms of growth in output per hour, six regions of the UK expanded. London was ranked sixth as output per hour grew by 0.5%. At 2.3% growth was fastest in Scotland and the biggest contraction was in Yorkshire and the Humber at 2.5%. UK average growth was 0.5%.

Sectorally, productivity in non-manufacturing production and agriculture was better than expected but manufacturing disappointed.

On average, in 2018 the UK economy produced about £35 of value for each hour worked, with finance and insurance top at c£69 per hour compared with accommodation and service activities productivity at c£17 per hour.

Labour

More data from the ONS showed unemployment in the capital fell by 10,000 to 213,000 between October and December; the drop of 0.3% took the overall rate to 4.3%. Northern Ireland had the lowest rate of 2.4%, with the UK rate at 3.8%. The highest rate was 6.1% which was recorded in the North East.

The South West had the highest employment rate at 80.1% which compared with 75.5% or 4.8m in employment in the capital; the UK rate was 76.5%.

In December, average earnings in London fell by £25 to £805 per week the highest in the UK; the lowest average earnings of £530 were recorded in the NE.

In the UK overall, average earnings grew by 2.9% or by 1.4% after inflation. After adjusting for inflation, regular pay is now at its highest level since 2000, whereas total pay (which includes bonuses) is still 3.7% below its peak in February 2008.

Housing

London’s average property price increased by 1.6% over the month to £483,922; the uplift took the annual increase to 2.3%. In comparison, UK prices increased by 0.3% to £234,742 during September, an annual growth rate of 2.2%.