UK employment has picked up significantly with over 240,000 jobs being added as the furlough scheme is due to end this month. There are still over 1 million reported vacancies though, and a recent study showed over 40% of UK companies are facing recruitment challenges, particularly in hospitality, water utilities, healthcare and construction. 25% of the companies surveyed cited reduced EU applicants as a factor.
Inflation Nudging Things Up
Speaking of which, the UK has delayed certain import checks on EU goods for a second time and will phase them in during 2022 due to strained supply chains. Meanwhile, the European Commission is expected to announce new solutions in the coming weeks to ease goods movement between Britain and Northern Ireland.
All of this is continuing to push up inflation in the UK, with energy, manufacturing costs and restaurants rising. It’s a similar picture on the other side of the Atlantic, with inflation in the USA nudging up, although certain areas such as airfares, hotels and vehicle sales and rentals have fallen to let a bit of the steam out.
In the UK, grocery prices are rising, driven by recent sustained commodity prices, freight costs and a shortage of HGV drivers.
Whilst in the US, August retail sales rose 0.7% m/m (July: -1.8%). Excluding autos, they rose even more by 1.8% m/m, the largest gain in five months. Back-to-school shopping certainly lifted sales as well as a surge in online sales which rebounded 5.3% m/m (July: -4.6%). The auto industry suffered due to the chip shortage.