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The proportion of the workforce of all UK businesses (excluding those that permanently ceased trading) on furlough has decreased to 7% (approximately 1.8 million people); this is the lowest level reported since the series began in June 2020 (Initial results from Wave 32 of the Business Insights and Conditions Survey (BICS)). See Section 3.
In the week to 3 June 2021, the aggregate CHAPS-based indicator of credit and debit card purchases increased by 7 percentage points from the previous week, to 102% of its February 2020 average; this was driven by notable weekly increases in all four consumption categories (Bank of England CHAPS data). See Section 4.
The proportion of British adults who travelled to work (either exclusively or in combination with working from home) decreased by 4 percentage points to 60% in the period 2 to 6 June 2021 compared with the previous week (26 to 31 May 2021) (Opinions and Lifestyle Survey). See Section 5.
In April 2021, a net 24% of 33,500 firms reported an increase in turnover compared with April 2020 (as the first national lockdown came into effect); this was driven by turnover estimates increasing in all major industries (services, production, construction, and agriculture) (HM Revenue and Customs VAT returns). See Section 6.
In the week to 7 June 2021, the seven-day average of UK seated diners was at 147% of its level in the same week of 2019; this is a 15 percentage point increase compared with two weeks ago (week ending 24 May 2021) (OpenTable). See Section 7.
In the week to 5 June 2021, overall retail footfall in the UK saw a weekly increase of 12% and was at 85% of the level seen in the equivalent week of 2019; this coincides with the Spring Bank Holiday on 31 May 2021 and is consistent with previous bank holidays (Springboard). See Section 8.
On 4 June 2021, the proportion of UK online job adverts for "catering and hospitality" was at 140% of its February 2020 average level, an increase of 83 percentage points since 9 April 2021 just before hospitality restrictions were first eased in the UK (Adzuna). See Section 9.
The volume of motor vehicle traffic on 7 June 2021 was at 99% of the level seen in the first week of February 2020, a slight increase of 2 percentage points from two weeks ago (Department for Transport (DfT)). See Section 10.
There was an average of 411 daily ship visits in the week ending 6 June 2021, an increase of 4% from the previous week (395) but broadly similar to the equivalent week of 2019 (410) (exactEarth). See Section 11.
In the week ending 6 June 2021, average counts of traffic camera activity for cars decreased from the previous week in Manchester, the North East and London by 5%, 4% and 2%, respectively (Transport for Greater Manchester, North East Traffic Cameras, Transport for London). See the accompanying dataset.
There were 12,134 company incorporations in the week to 4 June 2021, a 17% decrease from the previous week (14,535) and 6% lower than the equivalent week in 2019 (12,975) (Companies House). See the accompanying dataset.
There were 4,414 voluntary dissolution applications in the week to 4 June 2021, a 31% decrease from the previous week (6,426) and 16% lower than the equivalent week of 2019 (5,234); the large decrease compared with the previous week is in part attributed to reduced processing activity in the latest week (Companies House). See the accompanying dataset.
The overall price of items in the online food and drink basket decreased by 0.1% in the week ending 6 June 2021, to its lowest aggregate level in eight weeks; the main downwards contribution came from "sugar, jam, syrup, chocolate and confectionery", and the main upward contribution came from "bread and cereals" (online price collection). See the accompanying dataset.
Users should treat comparisons with the latest week's data with caution where the latest period of data includes the Spring Bank Holiday on 31 May, as the bank holiday can result in notable changes in activity for many of our indicators.Back to table of contents
Initial results from Wave 32 of the Business Insights and Conditions Survey (BICS) cover the reference period 17 to 30 May 2021, with a response rate of 19.1% (7,375 responses). The survey was live for the period 1 to 8 June 2021.
Figure 1: The proportion of the workforce of all UK businesses (excluding those permanently ceased trading) on furlough has decreased to 7%, the lowest level reported since the series began in June 2020
Headline indicators from the Business Insights and Conditions Survey (BICS), 17 May to 8 June 2021
Initial weighted results, Wave 32 of Office for National Statistics' (ONS') Business Insights and Conditions Survey (BICS).
A detailed description of the weighting methodology and the weights used for each variable is available in Business Insights and Conditions Survey (BICS).
Download the data
Across all UK industries in Wave 32:
84% of businesses had been trading for more than the last two weeks
3% of businesses had started trading within the last two weeks after a pause in trading
2% of businesses had paused trading but intend to restart in the next two weeks (broadly unchanged from 3% in Wave 31)
6% of businesses had paused trading and do not intend to restart in the next two weeks (unchanged from Wave 31)
5% of businesses had permanently ceased trading
|Turnover has increased by more than 50%||1%|
|Turnover has increased between 20% and 50%||3%|
|Turnover has increased by up to 20%||10%|
|Turnover has not been affected||45%|
|Turnover has decreased by up to 20%||16%|
|Turnover has decreased between 20% and 50%||10%|
|Turnover has decreased by more than 50%||6%|
Download this table Table 1: Around a third of businesses saw a decrease in turnover in late May compared with what is normally expected this time of year, the lowest proportion seen since the series began in June 2020.xls .csv
The initial result of 7% of businesses' workforce on furlough leave in May 2021 equates to approximately 1.8 million people. This number is based on multiplying the BICS weighted furlough proportions by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) CJRS official statistics eligible employments1 for only those industries covered by the BICS sample.
Notes for: Business impacts and insights
- An "employment" in the HMRC CJRS Official Statistics is defined as anyone who meets the scheme criteria set out within the published guidance, and data come from the whole population of HMRC CJRS claims (those applied) and Pay As You Earn (PAYE) Real Time Information systems (RTIs). The assessment of whether a person was employed on the qualifying dates is based on the methodology used for the joint HMRC and Office for National Statistics (ONS) statistics release, Earnings and employment from Pay As You Earn Real Time Information.
These data series are experimental faster indicators for estimating UK spending on credit and debit cards. They track the daily CHAPS payments made by credit and debit card payment processors to around 100 major UK retail corporates. These payments are the proceeds of recent credit and debit card transactions made by customers at their stores, both via physical and via online platforms.
More information on the indicator is provided in the accompanying methodology article.
Companies are allocated to one of four categories based on their primary business:
"staples" refers to companies that sell essential goods that households need to purchase, such as food and utilities
"work-related" refers to companies providing public transport or selling petrol
"delayable" refers to companies selling goods whose purchase could be delayed, such as clothing or furnishings
"social" refers to spending on travel and eating out
Figure 2 shows changes in the value of CHAPS payments received by large UK corporates from their credit and debit card processors, "merchant acquirers".
In the week to 3 June 2021, the CHAPS-based indicator of credit and debit card purchases in aggregate increased by 7 percentage points from the previous week to 102% of its February 2020 average level. This was driven by rises in all spending categories in this latest week:
"work-related" spending increased by 14 percentage points
"staple" by 10 percentage points
"delayable" by 6 percentage points
"social" by 4 percentage points
The period covering the latest week's data overlaps with May pay day, Spring Bank Holiday, and May half-term in schools.
In the latest week, "staple" and "work-related" spending were above their February 2020 average levels, both at 118%. Conversely, "delayable" and "social" spending were at 96% and 89% of their February 2020 average levels, respectively.
"Work-related" spending is currently at its highest ever level since the series began in January 2020. Similarly, "social" spending is now at its highest level since the beginning of the pandemic and notably above last summer's peaks.
The full data time series available for data on UK spending on debit and credit cards can be found in the accompanying dataset.Back to table of contents
The new reporters index measures the number of UK firms sending Value Added Tax (VAT) returns to HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) for the first time, which is related to the number of firm creations.
There were 24,020 new VAT reporters in the UK in May 2021, an increase of 13% from 21,180 in April 2021. This is higher than the number seen in May 2020 (15,900) and May 2019 (21,070). This is also higher than the 2015 to 2019 longer-term average (20,908).
Business turnover estimates
Turnover diffusion indices are an aggregate measure used to track whether the majority of firms are reporting an increase or decrease in turnover in their VAT returns. They are calculated as the percentage of firms with increasing turnover minus the percentage with decreasing turnover.
The heatmap in Figure 4 is a visual way of showing the VAT diffusion indices based on the standard deviation from their historical 2008 to 2019 average. Larger deviations are more darkly coloured, with red representing a negative change, while teal represents a positive change when compared with the previous period.
Figure 4: A net 24% of 33,500 firms reported an increase of turnover in April 2021 compared with April 2020 (just after the pandemic started to have an effect)
Heatmap of business turnover estimates, UK, diffusion index standard deviation from the mean, up to Quarter 1 (Jan to Mar) 2021 and April 2021. New reporters, UK, up to May 2021
Agri - Agriculture, forestry and fishing, All - All industries, SA - Seasonally adjusted, NSA - Not seasonally adjusted.
More information is available in the methodology article.
Download the data
The month-on-year all industry turnover estimate for April 2021 shows that a net 24% of 33,500 firms reported an increase in turnover compared with April 2020. Across all major industries (services, production, construction, agriculture), turnover estimates increased over this period. This is the largest month-on-year increase in turnover since the series began in January 2015. However, caution should be taken when interpreting this figure as it compares with April 2020, just as the first national lockdown came into full effect.
The month-on-month all-industry turnover estimate for April 2021 compared with March 2021 shows a net 2% of 37,400 firms reported an increase in turnover. Turnover estimates in production and services increased over this period, whereas turnover estimates for agriculture and construction decreased for April 2021 when compared with March 2021.Back to table of contents
OpenTable is a leading provider of online restaurant reservations, with daily data being publicly available in its The state of the industry dashboard. These data show the impact of recent events and restrictions on the hospitality industry using a sample of restaurants on the OpenTable network across all channels, that is, online reservations, phone reservations, and walk-ins.
In the week to Monday 7 June 2021, the seven-day average estimate of UK seated diners was at 147% of the level seen in the equivalent week of 2019. This is a 27-percentage point decrease when compared with the previous week’s index. However, the previous week’s seven-day average estimate included the period of increased activity on Bank Holiday Monday (31 May). When compared with the equivalent index recorded two weeks previous (week ending 24 May 2021) the seven-day average estimate of UK seated diners for the week ending 7 June 2021 increased by 15 percentage points.
In the week to Monday 7 June 2021, the seven-day average estimate of seated diners in London was at 81% of its level in the equivalent week of 2019, a 24 percentage point decrease when compared to the previous week’s index. Meanwhile, the equivalent figure in Manchester was 190%, having decreased by 41 percentage points from the previous week’s index. However, it is worth noting that the equivalent index for two weeks previous was broadly similar to that seen in the latest week for both Manchester and London.Back to table of contents
National retail footfall
National footfall figures are supplied by Springboard, a provider of data on customer activity. It measures the following for overall UK retail footfall, as well as by high street, retail park, and shopping centre categories:
daily retail footfall as a percentage of its level on the same day of the equivalent week of 2019; for example, Saturday 5 June 2021 is compared with Saturday 1 June 2019
total weekly retail footfall as a percentage of its level in the equivalent week of 2019
the percentage change in weekly footfall compared with the previous week; for example, Week 22 of 2021 is compared with Week 21 of 2021
Springboard's weekly data are defined over a seven-day period running from Sunday to Saturday; Week 22 of 2021 therefore refers to the period Sunday 30 May 2021 to Saturday 5 June 2021
According to Springboard, overall retail footfall in the week to 5 June 2021 increased by 12% compared with the previous week (week to 29 May 2021) and was at 85% of its level in the equivalent week of 2019. This is the highest retail footfall has been as a proportion of its 2019 level so far this year, having increased by 49 percentage points since Week 1 of 2021 (week to 9 January 2021).
The strongest weekly increase in retail footfall was at high streets where levels increased by 17% compared with the week before. Retail footfall at shopping centres also increased, by 9%, and at retail parks by 2%. In the latest week to 5 June 2021, footfall at retail parks remained strongest of all retail locations relative to their pre-pandemic levels, at 97% of its level in the equivalent week of 2019.
The weekly increase in retail footfall in the latest week coincides with the Spring Bank Holiday on 31 May 2021 and is consistent with previous bank holidays.
Regional retail footfall
According to Springboard, in the week to 5 June 2021, retail footfall was strongest relative to its level in the equivalent period of 2019 in South West England, East of England, and the West Midlands. Their retail footfall levels in the latest week to 5 June 2021 were at 98%, 93% and 92% of the levels seen in the equivalent week of 2019, respectively.
In the latest week, retail footfall saw week-on-week increases across all UK regions. The largest weekly percentage increase in retail footfall was in South West England, where it rose by 19%. Northern Ireland saw the smallest rise, increasing by 3% in the week to 5 June 2021.Back to table of contents
Job adverts by category
These figures are experimental estimates of online job adverts provided by Adzuna, an online job search engine, by category and by UK countries and English regions. The number of job adverts over time is an indicator of the demand for labour. The Adzuna categories used do not correspond to Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) categories, so these values are not directly comparable with the Office for National Statistics (ONS) Vacancy Survey.
Figure 8: On 4 June 2021, the volume of UK online job adverts for "catering and hospitality" was 140% of its February 2020 average level, up 83 percentage points since 9 April 2021
Volume of online job adverts by category, index February 2020 = 100, 4 January 2019 to 4 June 2021, non-seasonally adjusted
- Further category breakdowns are included in the Online job advert estimates dataset and more details on the methodology can be found in Using Adzuna data to derive an indicator of weekly vacancies.
Download the data
The volume of UK online job adverts on 4 June 2021 was at 129% of its February 2020 average level, a slight increase of 2 percentage points when compared with a week ago (28 May 2021) and higher than the number of online job adverts seen in the equivalent period of 2019 and 2020.
Over the latest week, excluding the “unknown” category, the volume of online job adverts had increased in 21 of the 28 categories, decreased in four categories and remained broadly unchanged in three categories. The largest weekly increase in the number of online job adverts was for “customer service – support”, which rose by 14 percentage points to 145% of its February 2020 average level on 4 June 2021.
In “catering and hospitality”, the volume of online job adverts increased by 8 percentage points from a week ago to 140% of its February 2020 average level on 4 June 2021. This continues the recent strong upward trend for this category, having risen by 83 percentage points since 9 April 2021, just before the first easing of hospitality restrictions when pubs and restaurants reopened in England.
Other categories with notable weekly increases were "transport, logistics and warehouse", “travel and tourism” and “wholesale and retail”, which rose by 12, 9 and 7 percentage points, respectively. This continues the recent strong upward trend for these categories.
Job adverts by region
Figure 9: On 4 June 2021, the volume of online job adverts had increased in all UK countries and English regions when compared with the previous week
Volume of online job adverts by UK countries and English regions, index February 2020 = 100, 4 January 2019 to 4 June 2021, non-seasonally adjusted
Download the data
On 4 June 2021, the volume of UK online job adverts had increased in all 12 UK countries and English regions when compared with 28 May 2021. Scotland and Northern Ireland both saw the largest weekly increase of 6 percentage points to bring their volume of online job adverts to 126% and 164% of their February 2020 average levels on 4 June 2021, respectively.
The volume of online job adverts is now higher than February 2020 average levels across all UK countries and regions. Online job adverts in London exceeded their February 2020 average level for the first time since the onset of the pandemic on 28 May 2021 and, in the latest week on 4 June 2021, stood at 105% of its February 2020 average level.Back to table of contents
According to Department for Transport (DfT) non-seasonally adjusted road traffic data, the volume of all motor vehicle traffic on Monday 7 June 2021 was at 99% of the level seen on Monday of the first week of February 2020. This is a slight increase of 2 percentage points from Monday 24 May 2021, but a 15 percentage point increase since 29 March 2021, when the “stay at home” restrictions ended in England.
Week-on-two-week comparisons are made this week to avoid comparing against the lower level of motor vehicle traffic seen in the previous week because of the late May Bank Holiday.
Compared with two weeks ago, the volume of road traffic on Monday 7 June 2021 for light commercial vehicles and heavy goods vehicles both remained broadly unchanged at 110% and 109% of their levels seen on the same day of the first week of February 2020. Over the same period, car traffic increased by 3 percentage points to 95% of its level in the first week of February 2020.
Figure 10: The volume of motor vehicle traffic on Monday 7 June 2021 was at 99% of the level seen in the first week of February 2020, a slight increase of 2 percentage points from two weeks ago
Daily road traffic index: 100 = same traffic as the equivalent day of the week in the first week of February 2020, 1 March 2020 to 7 June 2021, non-seasonally adjusted
- The blue shaded areas refer to periods when restrictions across the UK were in effect. In order, these were: first national lockdown in the UK (23 March 2020) to easing of restrictions with non-essential shops reopening in England (15 June 2020); second lockdown in England (5 November 2020) to lockdown being replaced with three-tier system in England (2 December 2020); third lockdown announced in Scotland and England (4 January 2021) to “stay at home” restrictions ending in England 29 March 2021.
Download the data
The daily DfT estimates are indexed to the first week of February 2020 and the comparison is with the same day of the week. The data provided are useful as an indication of traffic change rather than actual traffic volumes. More information on the methods, quality and economic analysis for these indicators can be found in the DfT methodology article.Back to table of contents
These shipping indicators are based on counts of all vessels, and cargo and tanker vessels. As discussed in Faster indicators of UK economic activity: shipping, we expect the shipping indicators to be related to the import and export of goods.
The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic first began to affect the level of shipping visits from the week ending 29 March 2020. For this reason, average ship visits in the latest week are compared with the equivalent week in 2019 rather than 2020.
We are unable to provide data for 'Weekly all unique ships' and 'Weekly C&T unique ships' in this week's release for the week ending 6 June 2021 because of data availability. We apologise for any inconvenience this may cause. These data will be made available in a future release
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UK spending on credit and debit cards
Dataset | Released 10 June 2021
Experimental indicator for monitoring UK retail purchases derived from the Bank of England's Clearing House Automated Payment System (CHAPS) data.
Dataset | Released 10 June 2021
Experimental weekly and daily ship visits dataset covering UK ports.
Traffic camera activity
Dataset | Released 10 June 2021
Experimental daily traffic camera counts data for busyness indices covering the UK.
Online job advert estimates
Dataset | Released 10 June 2021
Experimental job advert indices covering the UK online job market.
Company Incorporations and Voluntary Dissolutions
Dataset | Released 10 June 2021
The number of weekly Companies House Incorporations and Voluntary Dissolution applications accepted.
Online weekly price changes
Dataset | Released 10 June 2021
Experimental estimates of online price changes for a selection of food and drink products from several large UK retailers coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Value Added Tax
Dataset | Released 10 June 2021
Value Added Tax (VAT) turnover and expenditure diffusion indexes and new VAT reporters using data from HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) VAT returns.
A faster indicator provides insights into economic activity using close-to-real-time big data, administrative data sources, rapid response surveys or Experimental Statistics, which represent useful economic and social concepts.
Incorporations are when a company is added to the Companies House register of limited companies. This can also include where an existing business applies to become a limited company, where it was not one before.
Voluntary dissolution applications
A voluntary dissolution application is when a company applies to begin dissolution proceedings. As such, they effectively chose to be removed from the Companies House register. For a company to be eligible to voluntarily dissolve, it should not have completed any trading activity for a period of three months.
A new reporter is defined as a firm with a Value Added Tax (VAT) reference (that is, firm identification number), which has not previously reported its VAT returns. New reporters are published within one month of the end of the reporting period. The new reporting behaviour measure is classified by the month the data were received by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC), known as the receipt date, which is not necessarily the same as the reference period (the period for which the VAT return is made).
The diffusion index tracks the growth in turnover and expenditure of firms. It is constructed to lie between negative 1 and 1. For example, if 65% of firms have increasing turnover, 30% have decreasing turnover and 5% turnover remains unchanged, then the diffusion index is 0.35.Back to table of contents
UK coronavirus restrictions
A full overview of coronavirus (COVID-19) restrictions for each of the four UK constituent countries can be found here:
These restrictions should be considered when interpreting the data featured throughout this bulletin.Back to table of contents
Information on the strengths and limitations of the indicators in this bulletin is available in the Coronavirus and the latest indicators of the UK economy and society methodology.
This week's online price collection statistics were calculated from data collected over only a portion of the week because of a technical issue, so they may not capture all of the week's price movements.Back to table of contents
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