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Will The CHF Strength Drag Down Swiss CPI?

By Shaily Mittal
     LONDON (MNI) - UK labour market data is starting to give warnings signals
regarding the broader economy:
     -Employment growth has slowed and is surprising negatively against
     -Surveys point to deteriorating hiring intentions
     -Vacancies are now declining year-on-year...
     -... Pointing to Slower GDP growth
     The UK unemployment rate has been falling steadily since late 2011, with
the latest outturn at a record low of 3.8% in April. The last time unemployment
was this low was 45 years ago, in 1974.
     Much has been made of the slow pace of wage growth post the financial
crisis with the real wage growth being negative until 2015. There have at last
been some recent signs of improvement in the trend of wages, which are starting
to approach pre-financial crisis rates of growth.
     However, other components are now giving warning signals regarding the
underlying health of the labour market and the broader UK economy. In
particular, a declining trend of vacancies, as is now the case, has often been a
leading indicator of deteriorating growth in the UK.
     UK employment has slowed over the past three months and is now running
below the long-term average. The MNI UK Economic Surprise Index also highlights
that the UK has been disappointing against market expectations.
     Declining Vacancies ...
     UK jobs vacancies have been trending down since 2018. It has been widely
assumed that Brexit uncertainty was making firms delay their hiring and
investment decisions. However, the vacancies trend has deteriorated to an extent
which has historically been associated with a slowing economy.
     Vacancies have fallen in each month since the start of the year and May saw
the first year-on-year decline since March 2012. Traditionally, GDP has followed
the trend in job vacancies closely, suggesting the recent downturn doesn't bode
well for the broader UK economy.
     ... Point to Lower GDP
     So far, UK economic growth has been relatively resilient to the uncertainty
caused by Brexit. However, a slower rise in employment and the continuous fall
in vacancies are consistent with slowing output and consequently GDP growth.
     Bleak Outlook ...
     Labour market surveys also provide a bleak outlook for the UK labour
market. While surveys have until recently been highlighting that firms were
unable to find adequately skilled workers, increasingly these surveys are now
showing that many firms no longer see the need to hire amid the uncertainty
around Brexit and an economic slowdown.
     ... Hiring Intentions Hit
     The IHS Markit Business Outlook survey shows that hiring plans in the
manufacturing sector are the least optimistic since October 2012, while capex
intentions are at the lowest since 2011. The July KPMG REC report on Jobs showed
that the rise in staff vacancies grew at the slowest pace since August 2016,
while permanent placements fell at the quickest pace since July 2016.
--MNI London Bureau; tel: +44 203-586-2224; email: