Quality not quantity when it comes to this week’s data releases. On Wednesday we have labour market statistics and on Friday, ONS wraps up the year (subject to future revisions) with the first cut of GDP data for the last three months of 2017.
Labour market stats
There’s unlikely to be much on the way of big news in Wednesday’s labour market statistics, which update us on employment and earnings in the three months to November. We’re not expecting much movement in earnings growth, which has been inching up to around 2¼ (excluding bonuses) across the whole economy, and nearer to 2% in manufacturing. Of more interest will be the private sector surveys that should start to materialise in the coming weeks – these will start to give an indication of pay deals in the first major pay bargaining month of the year and signal whether expectations of sub-CPI increases are indeed the norm at the start of 2018.
The first estimate of 2017q4 GDP growth will be more closely watched. The data we have for the quarter already suggest manufacturing output should give growth a helping hand in the final months of last year, but weakness in consumer-facing sectors will continue to be evident. Consensus expectations are for a reading of 0.4% quarter on quarter – which is also what we have pencilled in.
There is a risk, however, from a weaker industrial production outturn – the closure of the Forties pipeline could temporarily hit the mining and quarrying sector in 2017q4, which the ever-vigilant Scotiabank notes could knock growth in the quarter. We’ll be blogging on the detail on Friday.