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Economic Indicators

Exclusive-No rush of job-seekers after end of UK furlough, survey shows

By David Milliken

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Exclusive-No rush of job-seekers after end of UK furlough, survey shows
© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Workers travel through London Bridge rail and underground station during the morning rush hour in London, Britain, September 8, 2021. REUTERS/Toby Melville

By David Milliken

LONDON (Reuters) – The end of Britain’s furlough programme has not led to a surge in new job-seekers, according to data that suggests unemployment is unlikely to rise sharply and could bolster the case for a Bank of England interest rate hike.

Research by recruitment website Indeed, seen by Reuters ahead of publication, shows only a small increase in the proportion of British workers who say they are urgently looking for a new job.

So far there have been no official figures on what has happened to workers who were still on furlough when the scheme ended on Sept. 30. Britain’s Office for National Statistics estimates between 900,000 and 1.4 million employees were furloughed in late September, up to 700,000 of them full-time.

Uncertainty about how the end of furlough will affect Britain’s economy is a key reason why some BoE policymakers think it would be better to wait than to raise interest rates this week.

Last week, government budget forecasters predicted unemployment would rise to 1.8 million people or 5.25% of the workforce in the final quarter of this year, up from 4.5% in the three months to August.

But Indeed’s survey of 5,000 working-age British people, conducted in mid-October, showed no big jump in job-seekers.

The proportion of people who said they were “actively looking, urgently” for a job rose to 7.7% of the workforce in October from 7.0% in September and 6.8% in July, when Indeed started the survey. The share of people “actively looking, not urgently” for a new job rose to 17.9% from 17.3%.

Indeed said the increase in active job-seekers between October and September was not statistically significant.

“The fact that urgent job search hasn’t shot up suggests that the hopes many people had on the employers’ side that the end of furlough would flood the labour market with candidates is probably not going to materialise,” Indeed economist Pawel Adrjan said.

WORKERS RETURN TO EMPLOYERS

British employers reported record job vacancies in September. An inability to fill job vacancies in sectors with tough working conditions – such as lorry driving and food processing – led to empty fuel pumps last month and gaps on supermarket shelves.

Lloyds (LON:) Bank said on Monday that 60% of firms planned to bring back all their remaining furloughed staff, while 30% would reinstate more than half.

Separate research by Indeed shows Britain is in the middle of the pack internationally in terms of the rebound in job postings after the pandemic.

Job postings in Britain as of Oct. 22 were 35% above their level in February 2020. Australia had the biggest increase in job postings, up 71%, and the United States was in third place with a 48% rise. Belgium, Switzerland and Spain saw single-digit increases and recruitment in Israel was flat.

Sectors that remained in the doldrums included aviation, tourism and beauty, as well as some accountancy and sales jobs.

The timing of increases in job ads closely tracked the relaxation of COVID-19 restrictions, which in turn followed vaccination rates in most countries.

“Public health is absolutely critical for economic recovery and labour market health,” Adrjan said.

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Economic Indicators

Italy says can exceed 3.1% growth target for 2022 despite energy prices

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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: People walk along the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II shopping mall in Milan, August 25, 2015. REUTERS/Flavio Lo Scalzo

ROME (Reuters) – Italy’s Treasury said the country’s economy could grow this year by at least as much as Rome’s official target of 3.1% set in April, despite the negative impact of surging energy prices.

Italy grew 0.1% in the first quarter from the previous three months, national statistics bureau ISTAT said last month, revising up a preliminary estimate of a 0.2% contraction.

This left Italy with so-called “carryover” growth of 2.6% this year, assuming gross domestic product was flat in the remaining three quarters, ISTAT said.

Announcing on Monday the bond issuance programme for the third quarter, the Treasury said it expected growth to accelerate in the second quarter, compared with the first three months.

This still makes it plausible to reach or exceed the 2022 growth target of 3.1%, it said in its debt issuance report.

Prime Minister Mario Draghi’s government in April revised down its 2022 economic growth forecast to 3.1% from a 4.7% projection made last September.

The government has budgeted since January more than 33 billion euros ($34.90 billion) to soften the impact of sky-high electricity, gas and petrol costs.

($1 = 0.9456 euros)

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Economic Indicators

French consumer confidence falls more than expected in June

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© Reuters. A woman shops at a fruit and vegetables shop in Paris, France, June 10, 2022. REUTERS/Sarah Meyssonnier

PARIS (Reuters) – French consumer confidence fell more than expected in June, hitting a near nine-year low as concerns about the economic outlook surged in the face of high inflation and political uncertainty, a survey showed on Tuesday.

The INSEE official statistics agency said its consumer confidence index fell to 82 in June from 85 in May and the lowest level since July 2013.

A Reuters poll of 14 economists had an average forecast of 84 with the lowest estimate for 83.

Although households’ concerns about future inflation remained well above the long-term average, they eased in June for the third month in a row.

However, household sentiment about the general economic outlook continued to worsen, falling to the lowest level since May 2020 when France was in the second month of its first and most strict COVID-19 lockdown.

While surging inflation has stressed households in recent months, France’s political situation has added to uncertainty about the economic outlook since President Emmanuel Macron’s party lost its ruling majority in legislative elections this month.

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Economic Indicators

Peru truckers, farmers to strike over fuel and fertilizer costs

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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: People walk next to parked trucks during a national transportation strike against fuel prices, in Lima, Peru March 18, 2021. REUTERS/Angela Ponce/File Photo

By Marco Aquino

LIMA (Reuters) – Peru’s truckers and some farm groups will go on strike on Monday after failing to reach agreements with the government seeking measures to reduce the impact of steep global price rises of fuel and fertilizer, sector leaders said on Sunday.

Union leaders met on Friday and Saturday with government representatives, with demands including considering freight transport a “public service” that would reduce costs and curb competition from truckers from neighbor countries.

“We are firm in plans to strike with all our bases nationwide,” the leader of the heavy load haulage and drivers union Marlon Milla told radio station RPP. The union has 400,000 cargo transport units in 14 of the 25 regions of the country.

High global fuel prices linked to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine have stoked unrest in Peru, the world’s No. 2 copper producer, while shortages of fertilizer have raised fears over food supply with the government struggling to secure shipments.

The government of leftist President Pedro Castillo, who has seen his popularity tumble since taking office last year, has taken measures to curb the rising cost of living, but the annual inflation rate remains at around 8%, its highest level in 24 years.

Some farming unions also announced strikes on Monday, in protest at the rise in fertilizer prices and shortages.

Latin American leaders are grappling to bring down spiraling prices despite major interest rate hikes. Trucking protests over fuel costs have hit Argentina while Ecuador is being roiled by protests in part linked to gas prices. [L4N2YB27W]

“The dialogue has not been exhausted, we are in a permanent session of ministers to avoid protest,” Justice Minister Félix Chero told reporters on Sunday. The government is offering subsidies for road tolls and fertilizer costs.

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