Earnings growth, unemployment numbers, the number of people in work. All vital barometers of the UK’s economic picture and the reason why the monthly ONS labour market statistics report never fails to make headline news.
But alongside these well known statistics, there are a few lesser viewed numbers worth keeping an eye on to gain a more nuanced picture of the labour market.
Actual hours worked
As it says on the tin, this estimates the actual number of hours worked in the economy, seasonally adjusted. In May, this hit a new high – above the pre-recession peak.
This week may signal a new phase in the eurozone’s continued battle for economic recovery.
Tuesday’s unemployment data will set the tone for Thursday’s European Central Bank interest rate announcement. With unemployment at a record high of 12 per cent, commentators see no early signs of any improvement. Read more
New dormitories for Chinese workers may appear to have little to do with the deaths of hundreds of textile workers in Bangladesh. But in today’s globally interconnected economy one may be the fabled butterfly to the other’s subsequent hurricane.
Chinese workers’ demands for better conditions and higher pay have been driving manufacturers to seek cheaper alternatives. That has brought many textile firms to Bangladesh, which is reputed to have the lowest textile industry wages in the world – and they have certainly been increasing much more slowly than those in China. Read more