Labour shortages to push up wages for a bit longer

The latest data suggest that the upward pressure on wage growth from labour shortages has a bit further to run. Admittedly, the discovery of the Omicron variant has clouded the near-term outlook for wages and the labour market, with higher virus infections and/or tighter restrictions once again a possibility. Nonetheless, our base case is that most of the upward pressure on wage growth will subside from mid-2022, underpinning our view that Bank Rate won’t need to rise as far as investors currently expect.
Bethany Beckett UK Economist
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UK Data Response

Public Finances (Dec.)

Stronger tax revenues were just enough to offset big rises in debt interest costs in December. But we don’t expect this to last: further rises in inflation will mean borrowing soon overshoots the OBR’s forecast. Even so, our forecasts suggest the Chancellor still has enough fiscal space to cancel April’s rise in NIC taxes. Drop-In (14:00 GMT, 26th Jan): UK Outlook -- More inflation, more interest rate hikes. Join our UK Economics team for a briefing on the 2022 outlook, including why we’re below consensus on growth but think the BoE will raise rates more than most expect. Register here.

25 January 2022

UK Data Response

IHS Markit/CIPS Flash PMIs (Jan.)

The third consecutive decline in the composite PMI indicates that the Omicron variant weighed further on activity in January. But the recent fall in COVID-19 cases, relaxation of restrictions and signs of easing supply shortages suggest the economy will recover quickly. And, given signs of accelerating price pressures, we still expect the Bank of England to hike interest rates a week on Thursday. Drop-In (14:00 GMT, 26th Jan): UK Outlook -- More inflation, more interest rate hikes. Join our UK Economics team for a briefing on the 2022 outlook, including why we’re below consensus on growth but think the BoE will raise rates more than most expect. Register here.  

24 January 2022

UK Economics Weekly

Economy less favourable for whoever’s in Number 10

Although it is hard to predict whether by the end of next week Boris Johnson’s reign as Prime Minister will be solidifying or crumbling, we know that whoever is in Number 10 over the next year will have to deal with the cost of living crisis. Our forecast that inflation will rise to a little above 7% explains why we think GDP growth this year will fall short of the consensus forecast and why we think interest rates will be raised further than most expect, from 0.25% now to 1.25% by the end of the year. Drop-In (14:00 GMT, 26th Jan): UK Outlook -- More inflation, more interest rate hikes. Join our UK Economics team for a briefing on the 2022 outlook, including why we’re below consensus on growth but think the BoE will raise rates more than most expect. Register here.

21 January 2022

More from Bethany Beckett

UK Data Response

Money & Credit (Oct.)

The rise in consumer credit in October adds to evidence that economic activity fared well at the start of Q4. But that no longer offers much comfort in light of the discovery of the new Omicron variant. While much remains uncertain, the risks to our (already subdued) GDP forecast appear to the downside.

29 November 2021

UK Data Response

IHS Markit/CIPS Flash PMIs (Nov.)

The composite activity PMIs hardly changed in November as the economy held up fairly well despite continued supply disruptions and shortages. Meanwhile, signs that price pressures continued to grow suggests that a hike to Bank Rate in December still looks like the most likely outcome.

23 November 2021

UK Data Response

Public Finances (Oct.)

The winding down of the furlough scheme helped to bring down public sector net borrowing in October. But we doubt that the public finances will get much help from faster GDP growth in the near term.

19 November 2021
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