Nominal wages in the UK grew fastest in a decade but real wages are still lower than a decade ago

As widely expected, wages are rising in the UK, at least partially due to labour shortages down to Brexit. Nominal wage growth was fastest in a decade, but real (adjusted for inflation) wages are still lower than a decade ago. We recently also wrote about why wages weren’t rising despite record employment and labour shortages.

Great Britain average weekly earnings excluding bonuses annual growth rates November 2018

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UK Q3 2018 GDP increased by 0.6% (growing 3 times quicker than the Eurozone and at the fastest pace since 2016) but business investment fell

UK gross domestic product (GDP) in volume terms was estimated to have increased by 0.6% between Quarter 2 (Apr to June) 2018 and Quarter 3 (July to Sept) 2018.

In comparison with the same quarter in the previous year, the UK economy has grown by 1.5%, continuing its relatively subdued performance over the last year.

UK 2018 Q3 GDP QoQ growth

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The Bank of England Balance sheet has been expanding rather quickly recently

Mark Carney, the Governor of the Bank of England gave a speech on Guidance, Contingencies and Brexit at the Society of Professional Economists on the 24th May 2018. Essentially, the speech said the Bank was well prepared for any “potential path” of Brexit. What it didn’t mention was the rapidly expanding balance sheet.

Bank of England Balance Sheet October 2018
Data Source: Bank of England

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The story of UK trade with the European Union for the last two decades

We have been publishing a number of statistics for the United Kingdom and the European Union over the last few weeks in the run up to a major piece we will be publishing on the real economics of Brexit. This is the final piece before we publish our post on the real economics of Brexit.

How reliant is the United Kingdom on the European Union for trade? The answer to that is around 52% in 2017 (down from 59% in 1998 and 55% in 2008). 48% of UK exports go the European (EU) Union but 55% of UK imports are from the European Union. Exports to the EU have been decreasing but imports have been increasing. 69% of the trade deficit of the United Kingdom can be attributed to trade with the European Union.

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UK Trade Statistics for trade by each product (and split by EU and non-EU trade) plus interactive tool for trade by each country

We will be publishing a number of statistics for the United Kingdom (and the European Union) over the next few days in the run up to a major piece we will be publishing on the real economics of Brexit. In the meanwhile, here are trade statistics for trade by each product for the United Kingdom for 2017 (the latest full year of data available) sourced from the Office for National Statistics.

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Are foreign companies really acquiring UK companies at a record pace due to a weak pound?

Have inward mergers and acquisitions (foreign companies acquiring UK companies) really soared in the United Kingdom due to a weak pound? The answer is no. The Office for National Statistics (ONS) publishes numbers for inward, outward and domestic mergers and acquisitions and it doesn’t appear either have really changed pace despite a weaker pound.

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Here’s why wages aren’t rising despite record employment and labour shortages

Both the United Kingdom and the United States currently have record multi-year high levels of employment, yet wages haven’t kept up with inflation for the vast majority of people causing a real income squeeze. Although the U.S. recently reported the highest wage growth since the last recession most people don’t feel their wages are keeping up with rising prices. What is going on?

US wage increase annual until August 2018
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

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