Economic activity and social change in the UK, real-time indicators: 22 July 2021

Early experimental data and analysis on economic activity and social change in the UK. These faster indicators are created using rapid response surveys, novel data sources, and experimental methods.

This is not the latest release. View latest release

Cyswllt:
Email Issie Davies

Dyddiad y datganiad:
22 July 2021

Cyhoeddiad nesaf:
29 July 2021

1. Main points

  • In the last two weeks (at the point at which they responded), currently trading UK businesses reported that 11% of their workforce have moved from furlough or fully homeworking to a hybrid model of working; this is unchanged from the previous wave (initial results from Wave 35 of the Business Insights and Conditions Survey (BICS)). Section 3.

  • In the week to 18 July 2021, the seven-day average number of daily flights increased by 6% from the previous week but is only at 37% of the level seen in the equivalent week of 2019 (EUROCONTROL). Section 4.

  • In the week to 15 July 2021, the aggregate CHAPS-based indicator of credit and debit card purchases decreased by 5 percentage points from the previous week to 92% of its February 2020 average level, with week-on-week falls in "staple", "delayable" and "social" spending (Bank of England CHAPS data). Section 5.

  • On 16 July 2021, the volume of online job adverts had increased across all UK countries and English regions when compared with the previous week (9 July 2021), except in Northern Ireland, where they fell and the East Midlands where they were broadly unchanged (Adzuna). Section 6.

  • The volume of all motor vehicle traffic on Monday 19 July was up 5 percentage points from a week ago (Department for Transport). Section 7.

  • In the week to 17 July 2021, overall retail footfall in the UK was at 75% of the level seen in the equivalent week of 2019; high street footfall saw a weekly increase of 3%, its first rise since the beginning of June 2021 (Springboard). Section 8.

  • In the week to 19 July 2021, the seven-day average estimate of UK seated diners was broadly similar to the previous week at 116% of its level in the equivalent week of 2019 (OpenTable). Section 9.

  • The proportion of working adults in Great Britain who in the past seven days worked exclusively from home decreased slightly by 2 percentage points from the previous week to 21% (Opinions and Lifestyle Survey 14 to 18 July 2021). Section 10.

  • There were 11,996 company incorporations in the week to 16 July 2021, a 15% decrease from the previous week (14,164) and the lowest number of incorporations seen since the beginning of the year; it is also 9% lower than the equivalent week in 2019 (13,142) (Companies House). See the accompanying dataset.

  • There were 5,654 voluntary dissolution applications in the week to 16 July 2021; this is a 14% decrease from the previous week (6,608), but 13% higher than the equivalent week in 2019 (5,007) (Companies House). See the accompanying dataset.

  • In the week ending 18 July 2021, average counts of traffic camera activity for "pedestrians and cyclists" in Manchester and London saw week-on-week decreases of 42% and 12%, respectively; these large weekly falls were in-part driven by higher than usual "pedestrians and cyclists" counts over the previous weekend (Transport for Greater Manchester, Transport for London). See the accompanying dataset.

!

Results presented in this bulletin are experimental and may be subject to revision.

Nôl i'r tabl cynnwys

2. Latest indicators at a glance

Embed code

Nôl i'r tabl cynnwys

3. Business impacts and insights

Initial results from Wave 35 of the Business Insights and Conditions Survey (BICS) cover the reference period 28 June to 11 July 2021, with a response rate of 19.7% (7,650 responses). The survey was live for the period 12 to 20 July 2021.

Figure 1: In late June to early July 2021, 5% of all UK businesses (excluding those that have permanently ceased trading) reported low confidence of surviving the next three months, down from a high of 12% in January 2021

Headline indicators from the Business Insights and Conditions Survey (BICS), 28 June to 20 July 2021

Embed code

Notes:
  1. Initial weighted results, Wave 35 of Office for National Statistics' (ONS') Business Insights and Conditions Survey (BICS).

  2. A detailed description of the weighting methodology and the weights used for each variable is available in Business Insights and Conditions Survey (BICS).

  3. Information on provisional confidence intervals for the proportion of the workforce reported to be on full or partial furlough leave can be found in the latest Business Insights and Conditions Survey (BICS) release

Download the data

In the last two weeks (at the point at which they responded), currently trading UK businesses reported that 11% of their workforce have moved from furlough or fully homeworking to a hybrid model of working, unchanged from the previous wave. Further, an extra 9% of the workforce that were on partial or full furlough are fully back to where they were working before the pandemic.

Across all UK industries in Wave 35:

  • 87% of businesses had been trading for more than the last two weeks

  • 1% of businesses had started trading within the last two weeks after a pause in trading

  • 3% of businesses had paused trading but intend to restart in the next two weeks (broadly unchanged from Wave 34)

  • 6% of businesses had paused trading and do not intend to restart in the next two weeks (unchanged from Wave 34)

  • 3% of businesses had permanently ceased trading (unchanged from Wave 34)

Notes:
  1. Initial weighted results, Wave 35 of the Office for National Statistics' (ONS') Business Insights and Conditions Survey (BICS).
  2. Table may not sum to 100% because of rounding and percentages less than 1% being removed for disclosure purposes.
  3. Businesses were asked for their experiences for the reference period 28 June to 11 July 2021. However, for questions regarding the last two weeks, businesses may respond from the point of completion of the questionnaire (12 July to 20 July 2021).
Nôl i'r tabl cynnwys

4. UK flight data

These data are daily flight figures from the European Organisation for the Safety of Air Navigation (EUROCONTROL). Daily flight numbers for the UK alongside other countries are available in EUROCONTROL's dashboard. EUROCONTROL is a pan-European, civil-military organisation dedicated to supporting European aviation. Its Aviation Intelligence and Performance Review Unit provides independent collection and validation of air navigation services performance-related data and intelligence gathering.

These flights data include international arrivals and departures to and from the UK (including Crown Dependencies) and domestic UK flights, but exclude overflights (flights that pass over UK territory). They capture all flight movements that operate under Instrumental Flight Rules (IFR), where the pilot uses instruments in the flight deck to control, guide and adjust the plane. This includes commercial flights carrying passengers and cargo as well as non-commercial flights such as private and military flights.

Data from EUROCONTROL do not include information on the volume of passengers or cargo carried on UK flights. Especially in the context of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, flights might not be operating at full capacity and therefore trends in passengers and cargo will differ from trends in flights presented here.

In 2019, the total number of flights from, to and within the UK ranged from approximately 5,000 per day in quieter months to over 6,500 per day in peak holiday season. However, after the Foreign and Commonwealth Office advised against all non-essential international travel (17 March 2020) and the UK first went into lockdown (23 March 2020), the number of flights fell to a low of around 500 per day at the start of April 2020, approximately 10% of what they were in the equivalent period of 2019.

In early 2021, flights were steady at around 1,000 per day (approximately 20% of their equivalent 2019 levels). From mid-May 2021 and as the green list of countries was introduced (17 May 2021), flights have gradually increased.

In the week ending 18 July 2021, the seven-day average number of daily flights was 2,456. This is a 6% increase from 2,307 in the previous week (week ending 11 July 2021). The average number of flights in the latest week is 50% higher than the corresponding figure for the equivalent week in 2020 (a time when UK travel corridors were in place), but remains around one-third of the level seen in the equivalent week of 2019.

The full data time series available for UK flights can be found in the accompanying dataset, which contains daily flight numbers and the rolling seven-day averages.

Nôl i'r tabl cynnwys

5. UK spending on debit and credit cards

These data series are experimental faster indicators for estimating UK spending on credit and debit cards. They track the daily CHAPS payments made by credit and debit card payment processors to around 100 major UK retail corporates. These payments are the proceeds of recent credit and debit card transactions made by customers at their stores, both through physical and online platforms. More information on the indicator is provided in the accompanying methodology article.

Companies are allocated to one of four categories based on their primary business. These are:

  • "staples" - companies that sell essential goods that households need to purchase, such as food and utilities

  • "work-related" ­- companies providing public transport or selling petrol

  • "delayable" - companies selling goods whose purchase could be delayed, such as clothing or furnishings

  • "social" ­- spending on travel and eating out

Figure 3 shows changes in the value of CHAPS payments received by large UK corporates from their credit and debit card processors, "merchant acquirers".

In the week to 15 July 2021, the aggregate CHAPS-based indicator of credit and debit card purchases decreased by 5 percentage points from the previous week to 92% of its February 2020 average level. The "staple", "delayable" and "social" spending categories fell by 8, 6 and 2 percentage points, respectively. "Work related" spending remained broadly unchanged from the previous week. Despite this, "delayable", "social" and "work related" spending are still substantially higher than the levels seen at the beginning of 2021 (week ending 7 January 2021), having risen by 32, 40 and 56 percentage points, respectively, over that period.

In the latest week, "work related" and "staple" spending were above their February 2020 average levels, at 110% and 102%, respectively. Conversely, "delayable" and "social" spending were both at 85% of their February 2020 average levels.

Nôl i'r tabl cynnwys

6. Online job adverts

Job adverts by category

These figures are experimental estimates of online job adverts provided by Adzuna, an online job search engine, by category, by UK country and English region. The number of job adverts over time is an indicator of the demand for labour. The Adzuna categories used do not correspond to Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) categories, so these values are not directly comparable with the Office for National Statistics (ONS) Vacancy Survey.

Figure 4: On 16 July 2021, the total volume of online job adverts was at 130% of its February 2020 average level, 7 percentage points higher than that seen in the equivalent week of 2019

Volume of online job adverts by category, index: 100 = February 2020 average, 4 January 2019 to 16 July 2021, non-seasonally adjusted

Embed code

Notes:
  1. Further category breakdowns are included in the online job advert estimates dataset and more details on the methodology can be found in Using Adzuna data to derive an indicator of weekly vacancies.
  2. Users should note that week-on-week changes in online job advert volumes are outlined as percentages, rather than as percentage point changes. Percentage change figures quoted in the commentary will therefore not necessarily match the percentage point changes observed in the charts and accompanying dataset.

Download the data

According to Adzuna, on 16 July 2021, the total volume of online job adverts in the UK saw a very slight increase of 1% when compared with the previous week (9 July 2021). This was driven by small increases in the number of online job adverts across most categories.

Of the 28 categories, 19 saw week-on-week growth in the latest week, the largest of which was in the "part-time/weekend" category, which grew by 6% following a 9% decrease in the previous week (9 July 2021). Three categories were broadly unchanged, with six seeing week-on-week falls in the number of job adverts. The largest weekly decrease was in "customer service/support", which fell by 10%.

On 16 July 2021, the total volume of online job adverts relative to its February 2020 average level remained broadly unchanged from the previous week at 130%. This is 7 percentage points higher than the equivalent figure in the same week of 2019. Of the 28 categories, and for the second consecutive week, the only three that were below their February 2020 average levels were "energy, oil and gas", "legal" and "graduate", at 87%, 95% and 99%, respectively.

The "transport/logistics/warehouse" category remains the highest performing category relative to its pre-pandemic levels at 302% of the average volume seen in February 2020. This is a 153% increase since the beginning of the year (8 January 2021) and substantially higher the number of adverts seen in the equivalent weeks of 2019 and 2020 for this category. The number of online job adverts for "catering and hospitality" and "wholesale and retail" also remain substantially higher than that seen in the equivalent weeks of 2019 and 2020.

Job adverts by region

Figure 5: On 16 July 2021, numbers of online job adverts remained higher than their February 2020 average levels across all UK countries and English regions

Volume of online job adverts by UK countries and English regions, index: 100 = February 2020 average, 7 February 2020 to 16 July 2021, non-seasonally adjusted

Embed code

Download the data

On 16 July 2021, the volume of online job adverts had increased across all UK countries and English regions when compared with the previous week (9 July 2021), except for the East Midlands where they were broadly unchanged and Northern Ireland where they fell by 7% following recent notable increases. The largest weekly increases were in Wales and the South East where the number of online job adverts had risen slightly by 2%.

In the latest week, the volume of online job adverts remained above their February 2020 average levels in all UK countries and English regions. The highest of these were the North East, Northern Ireland, and the East Midlands, at 175%, 159% and 158% of their February 2020 average levels, respectively.

Meanwhile, relative to its February 2020 average level, the volume of online job adverts remained lowest in London, where the corresponding figure was 112% on 16 July 2021. London has been the region with the lowest volume of online job adverts relative to its February 2020 average level for the highest number of weeks since the beginning of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic (50 weeks since 31 July 2020). Despite this, its volume does exceed pre-pandemic levels.

Nôl i'r tabl cynnwys

7. Road traffic in Great Britain

According to Department for Transport (DfT) non-seasonally adjusted road traffic data, the volume of all motor vehicle traffic on Monday 19 July 2021 was at 99% of the level seen on the Monday of the first week of February 2020. This is an increase of 5 percentage points from the previous week (Monday 12 July 2021), and follows a notable fall in the previous week, which coincided with heavy rainfall that resulted in flooding for some areas of London. When compared with two weeks ago, traffic levels have remained broadly unchanged.

On Monday 19 July 2021, traffic for light commercial vehicles had increased by 7 percentage points from the previous week (Monday 12 July 2021) to 109% of its level in the first week of February 2020. For both heavy goods vehicles and cars, the corresponding figures were 107% and 95%, respectively, having both increased by 4 percentage points over the same week.

Figure 6: The volume of motor vehicle traffic on Monday 19 July 2021 was up by 5 percentage points from a week ago

Daily road traffic index: 100 = same traffic as the equivalent day of the week in the first week of February 2020, 1 March 2020 to 19 July 2021, non-seasonally adjusted

Embed code

Notes:
  1. The blue shaded areas refer to periods when restrictions across the UK were in effect. In order, these were: first national lockdown in the UK (23 March 2020) to easing of restrictions with non-essential shops reopening in England (15 June 2020); second lockdown in England (5 November 2020) to lockdown being replaced with three-tier system in England (2 December 2020); third lockdown announced in Scotland and England (4 January 2021) to “stay at home” restrictions ending in England (29 March 2021).
  2. In this week's release (22 July 2021), users should note that data covering the period 1 July to 12 July 2021 include minor revisions as a result of additional data becoming available.

Download the data

The daily DfT estimates are indexed to the first week of February 2020 and the comparison is with the same day of the week. The data provided are useful as an indication of traffic change rather than actual traffic volumes. More information on the methods, quality and economic analysis for these indicators can be found in the DfT methodology article.

Nôl i'r tabl cynnwys

8. Retail footfall

National retail footfall

National footfall figures are supplied by Springboard, a provider of data on customer activity. They measure the following for overall UK retail footfall, as well as by high street, retail park, and shopping centre categories:

  • daily retail footfall as a percentage of its level on the same day of the equivalent week of 2019; for example, Saturday 17 July 2021 is compared with Saturday 13 July 2019

  • total weekly retail footfall as a percentage of its level in the equivalent week of 2019

  • the percentage change in weekly footfall compared with the previous week; for example, Week 28 of 2021 is compared with Week 27 of 2021

  • Springboard's weekly data are defined over a seven-day period running from Sunday to Saturday; Week 28 of 2021 therefore refers to the period Sunday 11 July 2021 to Saturday 17 July 2021

According to Springboard, in the week to 17 July 2021, the volume of overall retail footfall in the UK remained broadly unchanged from the previous week (week to 10 July 2021). High streets saw a 3% week-on-week increase in footfall; the first weekly increase since the week ending 5 June 2021. This was in part driven by a 10% increase in footfall on Sunday 11 June 2021, when compared with the previous Sunday (4 June 2021). Conversely, footfall at retail parks and shopping centres decreased by 1% and 2%, respectively, when compared with the previous week.

In the same week, overall retail footfall was at 75% of the level seen in the equivalent week of 2019. Comparing retail locations, footfall at retail parks remained the strongest, relative to pre-pandemic levels, at 95% of its equivalent 2019 level, whereas the corresponding figures for high streets and shopping centres were 70% and 68%, respectively. Footfall at retail parks has been strongest when compared with other retail locations, relative to their 2019 levels, throughout the majority of the coronavirus pandemic.

Regional retail footfall

According to Springboard, in the week to 17 July 2021, retail footfall saw week-on-week percentage increases in six of the ten UK countries and English regions. The largest weekly percentage increase in retail footfall was in Scotland, where it rose by 5%. This rise was largely driven by a 10% increase in high street footfall during the same week, reversing the notable fall that had occurred in the previous week. Northern Ireland recorded the largest weekly fall in retail footfall of 7%, which was in-part driven by a week-on-week fall of 13% in footfall at shopping centres.

In the same week, relative to levels seen in the equivalent week of 2019, retail footfall was strongest in Northern Ireland, the South West of England and the West Midlands when compared with other regions at 79%. In contrast, retail footfall was weakest in the East Midlands at 73% of the level seen in the equivalent week of 2019.

Nôl i'r tabl cynnwys

9. OpenTable seated diners

OpenTable is a provider of data for online restaurant reservations, with daily data for the UK, London and Manchester being publicly available in its The state of the industry dashboard. These data show the impact of recent events and restrictions on the hospitality industry using a sample of restaurants on the OpenTable network across all channels, that is, online reservations, phone reservations, and walk-ins.

According to OpenTable, in the week to 19 July 2021, the seven-day average estimate of UK seated diners fell very slightly by 1 percentage point when compared with the previous week to 116% of its level in the equivalent week of 2019. In London, during the same week, the seven-day average estimate of seated diners remained unchanged from the week before at 69% when compared with the equivalent week of 2019. The equivalent figure for Manchester was 102%, having fallen by 2 percentage points from the previous week.

This is the fourth consecutive week that average estimates of seated diners for the UK and Manchester have fallen, having peaked in the week of the spring bank holiday (week to 31 May 2021) when their respective levels were at 173% and 232% of the equivalent week in 2019, shortly after customers were permitted to dine indoors in England again.

Nôl i'r tabl cynnwys

10. Social impact of coronavirus (COVID-19)

This section includes some provisional results from the Opinions and Lifestyle Survey (OPN) covering the period 14 to 18 July 2021. The survey went out to 5,832 adults in Great Britain and had a response rate of 66%. Further information to help understand the impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic on people, households, and communities in Great Britain will be available in Coronavirus and the social impacts on Great Britain, due to be published on 23 July 2021.

Travelling to work

In the period 14 to 18 July 2021, the proportion of working adults in Great Britain who in the past seven days:

  • travelled to work (either exclusively or in combination with working from home) increased slightly by 4 percentage points to 64%
  • worked exclusively from home decreased slightly by 2 percentage points from the previous week to 21%
  • neither travelled to work, nor worked from home decreased slightly by 2 percentage points from the previous week to 15%

Shopping

Of the 95% of adults who reported leaving home in the past seven days, the proportion that did so to shop for food and medicine was broadly similar to the previous week at 84%.

The proportion of these adults who shopped for things other than food and medicine in the last seven days was broadly similar to the previous week at 41%.

Nôl i'r tabl cynnwys

11. Data

UK spending on credit and debit cards
Dataset | Released 22 July 2021
Experimental indicator for monitoring UK retail purchases derived from the Bank of England's Clearing House Automated Payment System (CHAPS) data.

Shipping indicators
Dataset | Released 17 June 2021
Experimental weekly and daily ship visits dataset covering UK ports.

Traffic camera activity
Dataset | Released 22 July 2021
Experimental daily traffic camera counts data for busyness indices covering the UK.

Online job advert estimates
Dataset | Released 22 July 2021
Experimental job advert indices covering the UK online job market.

Company Incorporations and Voluntary Dissolutions
Dataset | Released 22 July 2021
The number of weekly Companies House Incorporations and Voluntary Dissolution applications accepted.

Daily UK flights
Dataset | Released 22 July 2021
Experimental daily UK flight numbers and rolling seven-day average, including flights to, from, and within the UK

Online weekly price changes
Dataset | Released 1 July 2021
Experimental estimates of online price changes for a selection of food and drink products from several large UK retailers.

Nôl i'r tabl cynnwys

12. Glossary

Faster indicator

A faster indicator provides insights into economic activity using close-to-real-time big data, administrative data sources, rapid response surveys or Experimental Statistics, which represent useful economic and social concepts.

Company incorporations

Incorporations are when a company is added to the Companies House register of limited companies. This can also include where an existing business applies to become a limited company, where it was not one before.

Voluntary dissolution applications

A voluntary dissolution application is when a company applies to begin dissolution proceedings. As such, they effectively chose to be removed from the Companies House register. For a company to be eligible to voluntarily dissolve, it should not have completed any trading activity for a period of three months.

Nôl i'r tabl cynnwys

13. Measuring the data

UK coronavirus restrictions

A full overview of coronavirus (COVID-19) restrictions for each of the four UK constituent countries can be found here:

These restrictions should be considered when interpreting the data featured throughout this bulletin.

Nôl i'r tabl cynnwys

14. Strengths and limitations

Information on the strengths and limitations of the indicators in this bulletin is available in the Coronavirus and the latest indicators of the UK economy and society methodology.

Nôl i'r tabl cynnwys

Manylion cyswllt ar gyfer y Bwletin ystadegol

Issie Davies
faster.indicators@ons.gov.uk
Ffôn: +44 (0)1633 651583