This page provides commentary and charts on the latest changes in the UK economy, using novel and rapid data sources as well as official statistics.

We explain the reasons behind each change as much as possible, although it can be difficult to separate the impacts of different things such as Brexit and COVID-19.

For an overview of our main economic indicators, visit our dashboard.

This page was last updated at 09:30 on 18 August 2022.

Spending on entertainment at highest level post-coronavirus

18 August 2022

Real-time indicators of economic activity and social change showed the picture of recent change in the UK in a number of areas.

Revolut data show mixed debit card spending across sectors in the week to 14 August 2022, with spending in this category increasing by 2 percentage points.

Debit card spending on “entertainment” has increased to 100% of the February 2020 average level.

This is the highest this category has been post-coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Elsewhere, spending on “automotive fuel” rose by 3 percentage points and was 49 percentage points above the same time last year.

The System Average Price (SAP) of gas rose by 14% in the week to 7 August 2022.

The experimental results also show that the rise was a 69% increase of the peak level seen on 10 March 2022 (National Grid).

Google Mobility data show that, in the latest week, visits to “park” locations increased by 8% from the previous week, coinciding with warm weather throughout the UK during this period. Visits to “retail and recreation” locations fell by 2%.

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UK average house prices hit a record level of £286,000 in June 2022

17 August 2022

The average UK house price was £286,000 in June 2022, which is £20,000 higher than the same month in 2021. This represented an increase of 7.8% over the year to June 2022, down from 12.8% in the year to May 2022.

Despite UK house prices increasing between May and June 2022 for the eighth consecutive month, annual house price inflation has slowed due to the rise in prices seen in June 2021, which were the result of tax break changes. The temporary changes to Stamp Duty, Land and Buildings Transaction Tax, and Land Transaction Tax in 2021 may have allowed sellers to request higher prices as buyers’ overall costs are reduced.

Average house prices increased over the year in England to £305,000 (7.3%), in Wales to £213,000 (8.6%), in Scotland to £192,000 (11.6%) and in Northern Ireland to £169,000 (9.6%).

Private rental prices paid by tenants in the UK increased by 3.2% in the 12 months to July 2022, representing the largest annual growth rate since this series began in January 2016.

Growth in private rental prices paid by tenants in the UK remained broadly flat between November 2019 and the end of 2020. The beginning of 2021 saw a slowdown in rental price growth, which was driven by prices in London, which may have been a reflection of a decrease in demand because of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Private rental price growth in the UK increased during the latter part of 2021, with widespread annual growth across all regions, with the exception of London. This trend continued into 2022; however, London's rental growth has increased since the start of the year.

In the 12 months to July 2022, rental prices for the UK, excluding London, increased by 3.7%, up from an increase of 3.6% in June 2022. London private rental prices increased by 2.1% in the 12 months to July 2022, up from an increase of 1.7% in June 2022. This is the strongest annual growth in London since January 2017. Despite this, London's rental price growth in July 2022 remains the lowest of any of the English regions.

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Inflation continues to be dominated by the price of goods

17 August 2022

Consumer price inflation rose by 8.8% in the 12 months to July 2022, up from 8.2% in June 2022.

This is according to the lead measure of the Consumer Prices Index including owner occupiers’ housing costs (CPIH).

The Consumer Prices Index (CPI), which does not include owner occupiers’ housing costs and Council Tax, annual rate rose to 10.1% in the 12 months to July 2022, up from 9.4% in June 2022.

The CPIH all goods index rose by 13.6% in the 12 months to July 2022, up from 12.7% in June. The rate has risen sharply since February 2021 and is the highest level in the official series.

The CPIH all services index rose by 4.9% in the 12 months to July 2022, up from 4.5% in June. This is the highest annual CPIH all services inflation rate since March 1993, when it was 5.5%. The rate has also risen over the last year but less sharply than for goods. CPIH excluding energy, food, alcohol and tobacco (often referred to as core CPIH) rose by 5.5% in the 12 months to July 2022, increasing from 5.2% in May and June.

Note: The ONS aims to complete its classification review of the Energy Bills Support Scheme (EBSS) and whether it affects consumer price inflation statistics this month. Further information is expected to be announced on 31 August 2022.

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UK productivity above pre-coronavirus levels

16 August 2022

Productivity in the UK has remained above levels seen before the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic hit the economy.

Output per hour worked was 1.7% higher between April and June 2022 compared with the average for 2019, prior to the pandemic. Output per hour worked is the volume of goods or services produced per hour of labour.

However, it remained unchanged from the previous quarter (January to March 2022), reflecting a fall of equal measure in both gross value added (GVA) – the value of goods or services produced – and the number of hours worked compared with the previous quarter.

Output per worker (another measure of productivity) in April to June was also up slightly on pre-coronavirus pandemic levels (0.8%).

Output per worker dropped by 0.6% compared with January to March.

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Number of job vacancies fell in May to July 2022, the first quarterly decrease since June to August 2020

16 August 2022

In the UK, the number of job vacancies in May to July 2022 was 1.274 million; a decrease of 19,800 from the previous quarter and the first quarterly fall since June to August 2020.

Since vacancies fell to an all-time low in April to June 2020, they have increased by 945,000 in a little over two years.

Estimates from the Labour Force Survey for April to June 2022 show that there was little change in rates over the quarter. There was a small decrease in the employment rate, a small increase in the unemployment rate, while the economic inactivity rate remained unchanged.

The UK employment rate for people aged 16 to 64 years decreased by 0.1 percentage points on the quarter to 75.5%, and is still below pre-coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic levels. However, the number of people in employment aged 16 years and over increased on the quarter by 160,000.

The unemployment rate increased by 0.1 percentage points on the quarter to 3.8%, while the economic inactivity rate was unchanged on the quarter at 21.4%.

The most timely estimate of payrolled employees for July 2022 shows a monthly increase, up 73,000 on the revised June 2022 figures, to a record 29.7 million.

Growth in employees' average total pay (including bonuses) was 5.1% and growth in regular pay (excluding bonuses) was 4.7% in April to June 2022. In real terms (adjusted for inflation), over the year, total pay fell by 2.5% and regular pay fell by a record 3.0%.

Note, we are comparing the latest period with a period where certain sectors (accommodation and food service activities, and wholesale and retail) had employees on furlough as a result of the winter 2020 to 2021 lockdown. Therefore, a small amount of base effect will be present for these sectors, but not to the degree we saw when comparing with periods at the start of the coronavirus pandemic.

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UK GDP is estimated to have fallen by 0.1% in April to June 2022

12 August 2022

The first quarterly estimate of UK gross domestic product (GDP) shows an estimated fall of 0.1% in Quarter 2 (Apr to June) 2022. The level of quarterly GDP in Quarter 2, 2022 is now 0.6% above its pre-coronavirus (COVID-19) level (Quarter 4, 2019), and 2.9% higher than Quarter 2, 2021.

There was a 0.4% fall in services output, with the largest negative contribution from human health and social work activities reflecting a reduction in COVID-19 test and trace activities and vaccine programme, while production and construction output both increased.

There were positive contributions from consumer-facing services, such as other service activities, travel agencies and tour operators, accommodation and food service activities, and arts, entertainment and recreation activities.

Elsewhere, monthly estimates published today show that GDP fell by 0.6% in June 2022, following a downwardly revised 0.4% increase in May. The Platinum Jubilee and the move of the May Bank Holiday led to an additional working day in May 2022 and two fewer working days in June 2022. This had an impact on Monthly GDP but has little impact on the quarterly estimates.

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