Week in Review - 20th May, 2011

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After falling last month, CPI annual inflation jumped, by 0.5 percentage points, to 4.5% in April. RPI inflation edged down to 5.2%, from 5.3% in March. The difference between the two measures is partly accounted for by the recent fall in house prices, which only affects RPI. The jump in CPI inflation was partly caused by this year's later timing of Easter. It was also driven by the cost of transport, particularly air transport, and alcohol and tobacco, caused by increased duties.
↑ Labour Market StatisticsThe numbers of people employed rose by 118,000 in the three months to March and the ILO measure of unemployment fell by 55,000 over the quarter to 2.46 million. The three-month unemployment rate fell to 7.7%. The claimant count measure of unemployment – which records the number of people claiming Job Seekers' Allowance – rose to 1.47 million, its highest level since September last year. There are, however, 43,400 fewer claimants than at this point last year.
↑ Retail sales Compared with April 2010, retail sales volumes were 2.8% higher in April 2011. All sectors except for household goods stores showed growth in the volume of sales over the last year. Possible reasons for this growth include the later timing of Easter, the royal wedding and the warmer weather.
The week ahead
Tue 24th: Public Sector Finances
Wed 25th: GDP 2011q1 (2nd estimate); index of services
Fri 27th: GfK NOP Consumer Confidence


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