Northern Ireland’s Labour Force Survey (LFS) has been a source of record breaking highs and lows of the positive variety over the last two years. More recently, Q1 2018 witnessed an all-time low unemployment rate of 3.1% with a record number of people in work in the three months to May. However, the subsequent data has seen rising unemployment coupled with a falling number of people in work.
Funding concerns and better terms and conditions elsewhere are key factors leading to employees leaving the third sector, creating skills shortages at a time of rising demand, a new report reveals.
UK growth has picked up a bit of speed in Q3, judging from latest monthly GDP figures, with strength widespread. However, recent favourable weather flattered the headline rate, so a moderation in growth looks likely in Q4.
If Philip Hammond has learned from the history of taxation, we could see some interesting developments in the October 29th Budget.
When we look back at some of the taxes we’ve had in the past, it is clear that taxation has had to continually change to keep pace with the times. In 18th century Britain, a hat tax was introduced to raise revenue from the gentrified. It was effectively a stamp duty on the head-dress of the more wealthy – the bigger the hat, the bigger the tax. Top hats had a top rate of 14%.
Candles were also viewed as an extravagance in Georgian England and therefore drew the interest of the exchequer, leading to the introduction of a candle tax. Similar taxes to target the wealthy at the time included, a beard tax introduced by Henry VIII, or an 18th century window tax (the bigger the house, the more windows it would have and the more tax the owners would pay). Continue reading
Latest monthly UK PMI surveys were upbeat, hinting at firmer Q3 GDP. Increasing skill shortages suggest a pick-up in wage growth in coming months, supportive for cash strapped consumers.
Today sees the release of September data from the Ulster Bank Northern Ireland PMI®. The latest report – produced for Ulster Bank by IHS Markit – signalled a further loss of growth momentum across the local private sector. Business activity, new orders and employment all rose at weaker rates, while sentiment dropped to the lowest in the 19-month series history. Rates of both input cost and output price inflation remained elevated, but continued to ease at the end of the third quarter.
According to today’s SMMT new car sales figures, demand for a new set of wheels in Northern Ireland and the rest of Great Britain continues to wane. UK dealers saw new car sales plunge by one-fifth in September relative to last year. Locally, NI car showrooms saw almost 1,000 fewer vehicles sold last month relative to September 2017. That represents a decline of 15% y/y. Some 5,365 vehicles were sold last month in Northern Ireland, which represents the quietest September in seven years.
The UK recovery remains imbalanced. Consumer spending rebounded in Q2 but investment weakened. Ongoing Brexit uncertainty continues to overhang the corporate sector.
Ask the man or woman on the street to describe any sector of the economy and the services sector is probably the one that they will struggle with most, despite it being our largest and arguably most important.
Stronger than expected UK inflation data increases the odds of another modest BoE rate hike next year, but the impasse in latest EU/UK Brexit talks means a BoE move is unlikely before spring 2019, at the earliest.