We’re still well off letter-writing territory, but inflation saw a significant jump from 1.8% year-on-year in January to 2.3% last month. This is the highest rate of inflation since September 2013 and marks the arrival of the consumer price rises that the Ulster Bank NI PMI has been flagging for some months. The main driver is the acceleration in the price of consumer goods – everything from new cars to newspapers – where inflation was virtually non-existent just four months ago. Continue reading
Cost of living crisis
During the post-recessionary period from 2010-2013 inflationary alarm bells were ringing loudly in UK consumers’ ears. The lack of pay rises during this period exacerbated the squeeze on disposable incomes and gave rise to the so-called “cost of living crisis”. During this four-year period UK CPI averaged 3.3% per annum. Meanwhile the average per annum price increases for food, energy bills and motor fuels were 3.8%, 5.7% and 8.2% respectively. Continue reading
To say that 2016 was an eventful year would be an understatement. Political surprises have become the order of the day with the vote for Brexit & Trump (“BRUMP”) the highlights. The political landscape at the end of 2016 looks vastly different to what we had at the start of the year. The same holds true for the local economy.
December’s data indicates a clean sweep of good growth across UK, Europe and US. 2016 went out with a bang. Continue reading
Today saw the release of data on Northern Ireland’s labour market. Here’s what it is telling us: Continue reading
UK CPI inflation rose to a 2-year high of 1.2% last month. However, the annual rate of inflation still remains low by historic standards and below the Bank of England’s inflation target of 2%. Continue reading
During George Osborne’s reign at the Treasury, addressing the UK’s productivity challenge took a back seat role to tackling the deficit. However, Philip Hammond has put productivity back on the agenda with the word appearing fourteen times in his speech today. In fact, the UK’s dire productivity performance is a major factor behind the poor state of the public finances. Continue reading
Northern Ireland has the lowest taxes in the UK and the highest public expenditure per head of any region. Together, these form Northern Ireland’s fiscal USP (unique selling point). This approach to public finances, however, has arguably not served the economy well (and is unsustainable – read my previous article on the subject). Furthermore, given the ongoing austerity agenda, Stormont will have to redouble its efforts in making public expenditure efficiencies and increasing revenue. Continue reading
The headlines in Northern Ireland’s latest labour market statistics make for pleasant reading.
Unemployment is continuing to fall and fresh record highs and lows were established for the employment and economic inactivity rates respectively.
However, these headlines conceal a significant divergence with respect to gender. Continue reading