UK’s Economic Activity and Social Change: September 2023 Insights

The latest data on the UK’s economic and social indicators provides a snapshot of the country’s ongoing changes and challenges. These experimental real-time indicators offer valuable insights into the state of the UK’s economy and society as of September 2023.

Consumer Behavior: Spending Declines

Consumer behavior indicators have shown a decrease in activity in the most recent week. Specifically, Revolut debit card spending fell by a significant 11 percentage points compared to the previous week. Notably, there was a substantial 21 percentage point decrease in spending on “Automotive fuel.” This decrease in consumer spending coincided with the end of the school summer holidays and the previous week containing the Summer Bank Holiday across much of the UK.

Overall, UK retail footfall decreased to 96% of the previous week’s levels, which is in line with the seasonal transition and holiday periods.

Business and Workforce: Mixed Results

Trading businesses have faced challenges, with only 14% experiencing an increase in turnover in August 2023 compared to the previous month. This represents the lowest level of increase in turnover recorded in 2023. However, there is some optimism for the future, as 18% of businesses expect an increase in turnover in October 2023.

Job market indicators showed a slight increase of 2% in the total number of online job adverts on 8 September 2023 compared to the previous week. However, when viewed over the year-to-date, the total number of online job adverts was 8% lower than in mid-March, which marked the highest point for job adverts in 2023. This suggests some ongoing challenges in the labor market.

Energy Costs: Fluctuations in Prices

Energy prices have experienced fluctuations. The System Average Price (SAP) of gas decreased by 7% in the latest week. In contrast, the System Price of electricity increased by 7%. Both values remained below the peak levels observed in late August 2022, with the SAP of gas and System Price of electricity being 83% and 80% lower than their respective peak levels.

Transport: Recovery and Challenges

Transport indicators show a mixed picture. The daily average number of UK flights increased by 3% in the week ending 10 September 2023 compared to the previous week. However, this number remains 8% lower than the equivalent week in 2019, reflecting ongoing challenges in the aviation sector.

On the road, average traffic camera activity for cars in London remained unchanged from the previous week, standing at 107% of the pre-coronavirus (COVID-19) level. This indicates a return to near-normal levels of road traffic in the city.

Experimental Data: Subject to Revision

It’s important to note that the results presented in this bulletin are experimental and subject to potential revisions. Data sources used for these indicators are regularly reviewed to ensure their representativeness and relevance, which may lead to changes in the indicators on short notice.

These insights provide a real-time view of the UK’s economic and social landscape, offering valuable information for businesses, policymakers, and the general public. Stay tuned for the next release on 21 September 2023 for further updates on the UK’s economic journey.