The UK’s workforce has undergone a number of significant changes over the years, not least of which has been the drastic shift away from manual labour jobs like manufacturing, mining and quarrying in favour of an ever-increasing focus on services.
In fact, figures released by the Office for National Statistics earlier this year showed that the services industry now accounts for more than 83% of the country’s entire job opportunities, having seen a 20% rise since the 1970s to become our single most dominant sector.
Strength to strength
Suggesting yet more cause for celebration for those who work within the area, further figures just released show that last month, the number of new orders placed within the services sector rose at the fastest rate since May, reaching a level well above that which indicates positive growth. ‘Resilient’ demand, the value of the pound edging up slightly against the dollar, and GDP growth running at a higher rate than that which was recorded in the third quarter are all being hailed as possible explanations as to why we’ve seen this boost.
Is it too good to be true?
As with any seeming economic high, there are always those who warn of a forthcoming potential low. It is, after all, well worth pointing out that we are coming into the time of year when demand is generally high thanks to the festive season, and so this boom could perhaps prove to be a short-term bubble that will at some point, inevitably have to burst.
The UK economy does indeed remain undeniably susceptible to volatility moving forward, with Brexit concerns and the lack of any clear progress on future trade deals thought by some to be major factors in scaring off investors, which in a harmful ripple effect could see productivity fall. Couple this with wary customers disgruntled by the fact that their money no longer goes as far as it used to, who may thus be a little less quick to flash the cash than they once were, and demand itself could also fall.
Time will tell
It soon becomes clear when considering the number of outstanding factors that we cannot yet predict that as with virtually every aspect of the UK economy these days, the longevity of the country’s services sector growth is at this stage almost entirely open to speculation. It is, in reality, something of a waiting game, as we watch how events unfold both here and in the continent over the coming months and years. What we do know, however, is that October definitely brought home promising numbers that those within the sector will be keen to capitalise on and replicate moving forward.