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Article 50 fears temper consumer confidence gains

Jake Cordell
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Employers fear for the jobs after the UK triggers Article 50 (Source: Getty)

Fears over job security in the wake of the EU referendum are lingering despite a string of robust economic data and no signs of a rise in unemployment.

According to the latest consumer confidence monitor from YouGov and the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR), optimism continues to creep back following the shock 23 June vote, though it remains slightly down on pre-referendum levels.

The headline score for the index came in at 111.1, a full point higher than in August on a scale where readings above 100 signify overall confidence. However, momentum has slowed over the summer, with optimism remaining below the 113.6 achieved in May.

“Though the economy is showing few, if any, signs of a Brexit-induced slowdown, consumers have not quite regained their pre-referendum confidence,” said Scott Corfe at the CEBR.

Stephen Harmston, head of YouGov reports added: “From consumers’ perspectives very little has materially changed since the vote to leave the EU. However, there is a duality in their mindset - at the moment things are okay, but there could be a slowdown in the year ahead.”

The first set of employment statistics for July are yet to show any actual hit to jobs as a result of the EU referendum, despite warnings before the vote from economists and businesses that job losses would follow a vote for Brexit. In fact, the number of people in work set a new record high of 31.77m in the three months to July, while unemployment stayed at 4.9 per cent and the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said there were few signs that referendum had hit the UK economy.

Concerns over potential job losses were linked to fears that business activity would slow over the next 12 months, the research showed. YouGov linked the worries to the fact that “consumers are starting to factor in Article 50 being triggered in the next year”, and any extra uncertainty that could bring.

However, rising property prices were continued grounds for optimism, as homeowners believe the value of their homes will continue to rise over the next 12 months.

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