UK Economic Indicators

This page contains a selection of key UK economic indicators. You can mouse over the points on the graph to view the corresponding data point (works best on desktop view).

Unemployment Rate

The latest unemployment rate for the UK is the January 2021 figure, which stands at 4.9%. Increases in unemployment have so far been modest compared to the increases seen in the aftermath of the global financial crisis. This is largely due to the ‘Furlough’ scheme whereby the UK Government pays a significant part of employees’ wages if they are unable to work due to COVID-19 restrictions.

Inflation rate

The inflation rate measures the change in price of a weighted basket of commonly purchased goods (weighted in the sense that the change in the price of bread will have a relatively larger impact than the change in the price of pet food, as bread is more commonly purchased). This change is typically expressed over a 12-month period, such that an inflation rate of 2% in March 2020 would mean that, on average, prices in the UK have risen by 2% since March 2019.

The latest inflation rate in the UK was 1.0% in March 2021, below the Bank of England’s target rate of 2.0% (if inflation was to rise signficantly and consitently above 2.0%, we might expect to see rises in interest rates).

Monthly GDP Index

Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is, generally speaking, a measure of the value of all Goods and Services produced by the UK. An estimate of this is published monthly in the UK and often expressed as an index. An index takes a base period (in this case 2018) and all other periods are relative to this base period. For example, if the Monthly GDP index was 105 in March 2019, this would mean that GDP has grown by 5% from the 2018 average up to March 2019.

As the below figure shows, all changes in GDP have become dwarfed by the COVID-19 pandemic, which showed a record historical fall in GDP as the economy was largely shutdown. The latest figure for February 2021 shows the index at 93.3 (6.7% below the 2018 average). The economy has essentially shrunk to 2014 levels in terms of output, although is expected recover in the coming months.