Week in Review - 17th February, 2012

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↓ Consumer pricesCPI inflation fell to 3.6% in January, from 4.2% in December. This is partly resulting from the fact that last January's VAT rise – which pushed up inflation in 2011 – has now been fully accounted for in the statistics.
↓ Labour market statisticsThe number of people in employment increased by 60,000 in the three months to December, mainly due to an increase in the number of part-time employees. The ILO measure of unemployment rose by 48,000, though this was the smallest quarterly increase since June 2011. The ILO unemployment rate was stable at 8.4%. The Claimant Count measure of unemployment – which records the number of people claiming Job Seekers' Allowance – rose for the eleventh consecutive month, though the claimant count rate was unchanged at 5.0%.
↔ EEF Pay SettlementsThe three-month average pay settlement was 2.4% in January, down slightly from the month earlier. This is in line with the broadly stable settlements seen throughout 2011, and – given that January is one of the key months for settlements – it may suggest that last year's elevated inflation has not had an undue influence on pay deals. Official statistics showed that across the whole economy, pay rose by 2.0% in the three months to December and by 1.4% for manufacturing. Excluding bonuses, pay was up 2.0% across the economy and by 1.8% in manufacturing.
↑ Retail salesThe value of retail sales in increased by 4.4% between January 2011 and January 2012. Sales volumes increased by 2.0% over the same period.
The week ahead
Tue 21st: Public sector finances
Wed 22nd: MPC minutes
Fri 24th: GDP (2nd estimate for 2011q4); Business Investment

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