Chief Economist’s Weekly Brief – Jobs boom but wages disappoint

Smile. Unemployment is 4% in the UK. Last seen when Derby County won the league, Harold Wilson was PM and ‘Make me smile (come up and see me)’ topped the charts. We’re practically German (3.4%). Employment rose 42k in Q2, full time jobs up 105k (so a fall in part time). True, the money’s not great. Average pay growth slipped to 2.4%y/y in June, barely above the preferred measure of inflation (2.3%).  We’re treading water. Otherwise, it’s hard to fault the figures. Jobs are more secure and ¾ of the increase in jobs are high skilled.  Many may be on holiday. But the labour market certainly isn’t.

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The £8-pint: too much froth in the economy?

Last month saw the opening of the latest landmark hotel in Belfast, a significant milestone for our hospitality and tourism sectors. But the fact that the cost of a pint in its penthouse bar has attracted as much attention as its rooms and restaurants, perhaps gives us some insight into the current performance of the Northern Ireland economy.

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July PMI – Fastest rise in output since January

Today sees the release of July data from the Ulster Bank Northern Ireland PMI®. The latest report – produced for Ulster Bank by IHS Markit – pointed to marked increases in both output and new orders amid an unusually long spell of warm weather. That said, employment increased only slightly and business confidence eased. The rate of input cost inflation remained sharp, leading output prices to rise at a pace only slightly weaker than June’s ten-year high.

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