UK em­ploy­ment con­tin­ues to rise


Busi­ness ac­tiv­ity ad­vanced across all United King­dom re­gions in Novem­ber, led by strong growth in the North West of Eng­land and Wales, as per the lat­est Lloyds Bank Re­gional Pur­chas­ing Man­agers' In­dex (PMI).

Wales (58.3) saw a fur­ther rise in busi­ness ac­tiv­ity af­ter growth reached a nine-month high in Oc­to­ber. The North West busi­ness ac­tiv­ity in­dex - a mea­sure that tracks changes in to­tal out­put across the man­u­fac­tur­ing and ser­vice sec­tors - in­creased to 58.5 in Novem­ber, its high­est read­ing in over three years. The Lloyds Bank Re­gional PMI is the lead­ing eco­nomic healthcheck of re­gions across the UK. A read­ing greater than 50 rep­re­sents growth in busi­ness ac­tiv­ity, while a read­ing be­low 50 in­di­cates a con­trac­tion. The greater the de­vi­a­tion from the 50 mark, the faster the rate of change. Other strong per­for­mances were recorded in the East of Eng­land (57.3) and East Mid­lands (56.0), with the lat­ter see­ing growth ac­cel­er­ate to a three-month high. Con­versely, Scot­land (50.2) saw a sub­stan­tial loss of mo­men­tum as growth slowed to the weak­est in eight months.

Mean­while, the sales of mil­lion pound prop­er­ties in north­ern Eng­land strongly out­per­formed many other parts of the coun­try in the first six months of 2017, as per the lat­est house price data from Lloyds Bank.

In­creases were also seen in the West Mid­lands (up 33%) and the South East (up 15%). Pur­chases of prime prop­er­ties in the North West and York­shire and The Hum­ber rose by 55% and 45% re­spec­tively. Over­all, there was a mod­est drop (-1%) in the num­ber of prop­er­ties sold for more than a mil­lion pounds across Great Bri­tain in the first six months of 2017, in con­trast to the same pe­riod in 2016, with ac­tual num­ber of sales edg­ing down from 6,684 to 6,613.

Mil­lion pound home sales in Lon­don fell by 7% from 4,230 to 3,940. Other ar­eas which ex­pe­ri­enced sig­nif­i­cant de­creases in the num­ber of pur­chas- es of pre­mium-priced prop­er­ties in­clude Scot­land (down by 35%), East Mid­lands (down by 27%) and Wales (down by 31%). This is part of a grow­ing trend as the av­er­age price for mil­lion pound prop­er­ties has dropped for three con­sec­u­tive years, from £1,862,578 (H1 2014) to £1,717,141 (H1 2017), a fall of 8%.

Mean­while, twenty-four per­cent home­own­ers plan to move within the next five years and al­most 10% are pre­par­ing to take their next step on the prop­erty lad­der next year but face a num­ber of bar­ri­ers.

Twenty-two per­cent of home­own­ers say that the cost of mov­ing is the key blocker for buy­ing their next home, ac­cord­ing to re­search from Lloyds Bank. High stamp duty and a lack of the 'right type' of homes are caus­ing the num­ber of peo­ple think­ing of mov­ing house to fall.

It found that the in­abil­ity to find the right prop­erty within bud­get (20%), stamp duty costs (19%) and in­creas­ing house prices (17%) are all cited as is­sues that stand in the way of home­own­ers mak­ing that next move. And broader fi­nan­cial pres­sures may also be con­strain­ing mar­ket ac­tiv­ity, with one in three (32%) stat­ing that they would need a sig­nif­i­cant pay rise to help make the jump. This is even more pro­nounced for the younger gen­er­a­tion; over half (57%) of 25 to 34 year-olds say they need an in­come boost.

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