At the end of March 2019, the employment rate for the United Kingdom was estimated at 76.1%, the joint- highest figure on record. The UK economic inactivity rate was estimated at 20.8%, again close to a record low.
UK gross domestic product (GDP) in volume terms was estimated to have increased by 0.5% in Q1 (January to March) 2019. In comparison with the same quarter a year ago (Q1 2018) UK GDP increased by 1.8%, the fastest growth since Q3 2017.
The European Commission slashed their GDP growth forecast for the European Union (excluding the United Kingdom) and the Eurozone for 2019 and 2020 citing slowing growth in China and weakening global trade.
The growth forecast for 2019 for the European Union (excluding the United Kingdom) was cut to 1.5% for 2019 (was previously forecast 2%) and for the Eurozone was cut to 1.3% (was previously forecast 1.9%).
Germany, Italy and the Netherlands all saw big downgrades for their growth outlook.
Household credit growth has been slowing around most of the world including the United States, Canada and Australia but remains robust in the United Kingdom despite economic concerns around Brexit. Household debt excluding student loans has hit 80% of GDP and including student loans has hit 90% of GDP.
Today, the 3rd of January has been a record day every year (for at least the last 15 years) for several things. For starters you have online returns (in the U.S. and the U.K.), gym memberships and dating website(s) signups peaking on the day. But this year is different so expect the unexpected. We can’t write about everything today but cover four topics (Retail, Technology, Interest Rates and Debt).