ONS
Office for National Statistics to Change Economic Measures

09-AprilThe Office for National Statistics will change the way it measures savings and long-term economic growth in an overhaul this September. The ONS claims the changes will put the UK on terms with Australia, the United States and Canada in economic measurement.

Critics of the measures claim that the change in the way the UK economic is tracked will create “a fiction” of illusory growth. One of the biggest changes to take place is a doubling in the official measure of household savings. The savings ratio will give an indication of total household wealth, including factors like salaries and pensions.

Until now, assets like pension savings have been excluded from measures of average household wealth. Economists believe that the new measurements will increase the average savings ratio for British households to 10 per cent, up from its current level of 5.1 per cent.

The change in statistical measurement could “reverse the UK’s reputation as being addicted to debt”, according to economists. Analysts believe that the changes were likely to result in misleading measurements that made households overly positive about their savings and overall financial situation.

Aldermore managing director Simon Healy, said: “The changes the ONS introduce may well suggest that we as a nation are thriftier than previously thought, though the facts on the ground show this data to be nonsense.”

The changes, according to the Office for National Statistics, are part of a large-scale reform in statistics that is taking place across Europe. The metrics used to measure savings and economic growth are already used by statistics offices in Australia and the United States.

According to the Office for National Statistic, the changes to measuring economic growth will add up to five per cent to the country’s gross domestic product. They would also increase the amount of sovereign debt posted by the UK – total debt in the public sector would increase by as much as £30 billion under the new system.

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In new figures being released by the ONS the recession is deeper than previously thought due to a weak construction sector. Previously it had been reported that the economy was down by 0.2pc but it has been revised downward even further to 0.3pc for the first quarter of 2012.

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In the final quarter of 2011, it appears as though there was a small percentage of growth in the portion of the economy that is considered to be the ‘non financial’ sector. Up from 10.8% in the third quarter of last year, the final three months saw a rise to 10.9% which is modest but at least shows some improvement.

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Just as figures were being released by the ONS showing that Britons are living longer, Key Retirement Solutions released figures of their own showing that at least half of people over the age of 65 living in the UK aren’t aware of just how expensive it is for long-term care in their old age. Many believe that there is a cap on the cost of long-term care set at £20,000 and with the rising cost of care that is not nearly enough.

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The most recent data released by the Office for National Statistics show that the jobless rate amongst young black men is now more than doubled and is currently grater than 50%. Figures are not much better for women as both sexes of black people between the ages of 16 and 24 are at 47.4% which is up from 28.8%.

 

What is even more alarming is that the rate of joblessness among black people within this age group rose disproportionately as compared to white people within the same age group which are only unemployed at 20.8%. This is up from 15% since the start of the recession in 2008.

In an article released by the Guardian, the jobless rate among black males is at 55.9% which has also risen at an alarming rate within this time period from 28.8%. These figures are said to be unpublished but the Guardian published them via an unnamed source.

The ONS said that any of this data should be analysed with caution since the sample group was extremely small and figures may not be indicative of what is actually transpiring in the UK. In actuality, there hasn’t been a complete breakdown of data by ethnicity since February of 2011 and this is said to be a result of the way in which statisticians are recording their findings.

While there is a great amount of concern in regards to the jobless rate amongst young people, the Department for Work and Pensions has stated that they have instituted several measures that are designed to provide skills and experience for all young people in order to match the jobless with vacancies.

A spokesperson for DWP’s ethnic minority advisory group said that he believes government could be doing more to reverse current trends in order to facilitate fairness among races, ethnicities and age groups.

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ONS confirms UK economy shrank in Q4 of 2011

Even though the holiday season saw a shopping spree and government spending accelerated in the final months of 2011, the economy still fell by 0.2%, according to the latest figures released by the Office of National Statistics.

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Retail sales rise unexpectedly during October

Retail sales in the UK rose 0.6% during October in contrast to the previous month, according to reports issued by the Office for National Statistics (ONS). Despite analysts having forecasted that sales figures would fall during October, a slew of retail promotions have caused retail prices to drop by 0.4% during October, likely leading to the unforeseen rush of preholiday sales.

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Britons saving more in fear of a recession

The newest data released by the Office for National Statistics state that Britons are saving more as 7.4% of households report increasing their savings in the second quarter which is up from 5.9% in the first quarter. This increase in the amount households are saving is in response to a feeling that a recession is imminent.

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