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UK consumer spending slows as job vacancies fall

Consumer spending in the UK: There were declines in basic spending, social spending and carryover spending, but work-related spending increased. Photo: Reuters/Kai Pfaffenbach

UK consumer spending on credit and debit cards fell slightly over the past week, new data shows, while the number of vacancies also fell.

According to the latest data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), credit and debit card spending fell to 100% of its February 2020 average in the week to June 16, 2022.

This is a drop of two percentage points, with all but one category lower than the previous week.

There have been declines in basic spending, social spending and carry forward spending, however, labor related spending (which includes road fuel spending) has increased, as gasoline and diesel prices continue to climb to reach new records.

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Gasoline and diesel prices hit new records on Wednesday, despite a drop in wholesale gasoline prices last week.

Data from RAC Fuel Watch revealed that the average price of petrol rose by half a penny to 189.84p, while diesel jumped nearly a penny to 198p a litre.

RAC fuel spokesman Simon Williams said: “It looks like we are only days away from the frightening prospect of diesel prices averaging £2 a liter across the UK, bringing the cost of a full tank at £110. For drivers still thinking in gallons, that would be £9 a gallon.

“We are surprised and disappointed to see the price of unleaded continue to rise while the cost in the wholesale market tells a very different story.”

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It came as the number of jobs advertised by recruiter Adzuna fell 5% in the week of June 17 to 123% of its pre-pandemic average.

This happened with declines in all English regions and UK countries. The categories with the largest declines during the week were computers, IT and software (14%), and wholesale and retail (13%).

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The ONS also said a fifth of businesses said their turnover was down last month compared to April, while 14% reported an increase in turnover.

And more than a third said record energy prices had affected production, suppliers or both.

Among companies that have not permanently ceased operations, 35% said that their production, their suppliers or both had been affected by energy prices in mid-June 2022.

This is a slight increase from 33% in the second half of May 2022.

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