ONS Economic review July 2016

06 July 2016

The main points highlighted at the outset of the report include the findings that Male and female unemployment rates were both 5.0% in the three months to April, following the sharper fall in male unemployment than female unemployment since early 2013. This is the first time male and female unemployment rates have been the same since records began.

Whilst the latest estimate of GDP growth in the first quarter of 2016 remained unchanged at 0.4%, although the level has been revised down fractionally. This quarter’s growth marks an easing in the pace of growth in recent quarters – during 2015 quarterly growth averaged 0.5%.

The annual cycle of Blue Book improvements and revisions has resulted in both upward and downward revisions to annual GDP growth for the past six years, but the broad path of the recovery is broadly unchanged. GDP is now estimated to be 7.0% higher than the pre-downturn peak (Q1 2008), rather than 7.2% as previously estimated.

The saving ratio has been revised up in 2014 and 2015 – partly due to new HMRC information on wages and salaries. As a result, the downward trend in household saving appears to have slowed somewhat compared with previous years.

There has been a divergence between services and goods inflation, with services price inflation being relatively stable, around 2.5% since late 2013 - not far below its long-term average of 3.6% between 1994 and 2013.

House price growth and earnings growth have both picked up since the downturn, but at different paces, so that housing affordability has been deteriorating since 2013. House-price-to-earnings ratios are not quite back to where they were prior to the economic downturn but have been rising over the past three years so that house prices are now, on average, eight times average weekly earnings (annualised).

The July economic review can be downloaded in PDF format. This edition reports and comments on recent ONS figures on the economy, which cover the first quarter of 2016 in detail, together with early information for April and May.

Respondents to ONS surveys during this pre-referendum period have not so far indicated that the referendum has had much effect on the figures in their returns. ONS will shortly be publishing statistics covering the period after the referendum on 23 June.