Latest updates and stories from Bedfordshire Chamber of Commerce and its Members

Strong job figures point to economic growth

  • In the three months to September 2013, the unemployment rate was 7.6%
  • In the three months to September 2013, unemployment fell by 48,000 and employment increased by 177,000
  • Youth unemployment (16-24) fell 9,000 in the three months to September, but was still high at 965,000, and the jobless rate was 21%
  • The claimant count fell 41,700 between September and October 2013
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Export must be UK priority

  • The UK deficit on trade in goods and services was £3.3bn in September 2013, unchanged from August
  • There was a £9.8bn deficit on goods, partly offset by a £6.5bn surplus on services
  • The trade deficit in goods and services increased markedly in Q3 2013, largely reflecting a wider goods deficit (down £4.3bn - £3.8bn goods)
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Manufacturing recovery - still challenges

  • Manufacturing output rose 1.2% between August and September 2013, while total production increased by 0.9%
  • In the three months to September 2013, manufacturing output rose 0.9% over the previous three months, but when compared with a year earlier, there was only a minimal increase (0.1%)
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Retail sales point to growth

  • Retail sales volumes for August 2013: down 0.9% on the month; up 2.1% on the year
  • The August fall comes after a strong increase in July, and the trend in sales remains clearly upward, with an increase of 1.7% in the three months to August, compared with the previous three months
  • Annual inflation in the retail sector slowed from 1.8% in July 2013 to 1.6% in August 2013
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Job Figures

  • In the three months to July 2013, unemployment fell 24,000, and employment rose 80,000, compared with the previous quarter
  • In the three months to July 2013, the unemployment rate was 7.7%, down slightly from 7.8%
  • Youth unemployment (16-24 year olds) rose 9,000 to 960,000, and the unemployment rate in this age group was 21%
  • Between March and June 2013, public sector employment fell 34,000, and private sector employment rose 114,000

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Prioritise business lending

Commenting on the MPC decision, announced today by the Bank of England, David Kern, Chief Economist at the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), said:

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Efforts needed to create jobs

  • In the three months to June 2013, unemployment fell by 4,000, and employment rose by 69,000, compared with the previous quarter
  • Long term unemployment is up, with further increases in the number of those unemployed for more than one year and two years
  • Youth unemployment has risen by 15,000 in the three months to June, and now stands at 973,000
  • In July 2013 the claimant count fell by 29,200, compared with June
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Manufacturers challenged

Manufacturing output in May 2013: -0.8% on the month, -2.9% on the year
Total industrial production is 0.0% on the month, -2.3% on the year

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QES Results

  • BCC’s Quarterly Economic Survey for Q2 2013 shows further progress, with most key balances stronger than in Q1 2013.
  • Service export deliveries balance rose to +36%,  the highest level since the survey began in 1989
  • UK business remains resilient, and confidence is rising, despite most balances remaining below their pre-recession levels in 2007
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