Spread betting – the economic impact of Brexit is not yet clear.

For all the column inches discussing the economic impact of Britain’s decision to leave the European Union (EU), the data that has emerged so far paints a very muddy picture.


Most economists expect a slowdown in the UK economy in the wake of the referendum, but what’s less clear is just how long and how deep any contraction will be. And increasingly the data coming out suggests Britain is set to avoid any serious downturn.

So just where do we stand? The property and jobs markets are two areas that offer some instruction.


Fears about a meltdown in the jobs market have so far not materialised. Latest data from the Office for National Statistics shows unemployment down at just 4.9% in July, barely changed from June and a nice improvement on the 5.5% 12 months before.

Vacancies remained high, rising slightly to 752,000 in August. Wage growth slipped a tad, but remained pretty solid.

The official figures seem to contradict some of the anecdotal evidence following the June vote. CEB had found that number of jobs vacancies slumped by 700,000 in the week after Brexit and this drop-off will likely take a few months to feed through into the official data. Subsequent to this, the REC reported a sharp deterioration in the jobs market in July. So far these downcast assessments have not been backed up by the official data, but it’s likely going to take longer to get a clearer picture of how the labour market has been hit.

Housing & construction

Data from the construction sector has also been encouraging. The PMI released at the start of September showed a marked improvement, while official figures a week later indicated the post-Brexit wobble didn’t last.

Housebuilders have also been buoyant. These firms took a big knock after the Brexit vote but are rallying. That’s because so far the results from these firms, which include the likes of Barratt Developments, Taylor Wimpey and Berkeley Group, are very solid.

Moreover, the outlook has not deteriorated. Order books are full, dividends can be raised and in the residential market, property prices are rising, albeit perhaps not quite as quickly as before.

CML data does show a marked downturn in mortgage advances in July, but it’s unclear whether this set of figures, like others, is simply reflective of a one-off blip.  There could well be a bounce back in August as British consumers and businesses shrug off the initial shock of the vote.

So far, for all the speculation there has been precious little data that really tells us what’s going on.  At present it looks like, following a brief slip for some market indicators in July, it’s business as usual. What’s for sure, however, is that once the politicians really start outlining what Brexit means for British firms, these indicators should start to shift, one way or another.