Charts of the Week

Projected rates of obesity

Today, more than one in two adults and nearly one in six children are overweight or obese in the OECD area. The obesity epidemic has spread further in the past five years, although at a slower pace than before. Despite this, new projections show a continuing increase of obesity in all studied countries. Social disparities in obesity persist and have increased in some countries. A nearly tenfold variation in obesity and overweight rates can be seen across OECD countries. Note: Obesity defined as BMI≥30kg/m². OECD projections assume that BMI will continue to rise as a linear function of time. Source: OECD OBESITY UPDATE 2017


Resource productivity measures how efficiently natural resources are used by the economy and indicates whether economic growth is compatible with a more efficient use of natural resources from the environment. Since 2008, resource productivity has progressed in the EU with both increasing economic activity, as measured by GDP, and a reduced extraction of materials, as measured by domestic material consumption (DMC). In the previous period between 2000 and 2008, GDP and domestic material consumption grew in parallel in the EU, leading to relatively constant resource productivity. Source: Eurostat


Despite the role migration has played in the Brexit process, levels of migration into the UK are not disproportionately higher than into other OECD countries.

While in UK, migrants are more likely to be economically active or in education than UK born residents




The share of benefits spent on survivor benefits varied significantly between Member States. It accounted for more than 9% of total social benefits in Poland (10.2%), Greece (10.0%), Spain (9.9%), Croatia (9.8%) and Italy (9.3%), but for less than 2% in the United Kingdom and Estonia (both 0.4%), Sweden (1.3%) and Latvia (1.4%). Differences in the age structure of the population may partly influence these shares.



A latest estimate indicates that 905,000 people reported that they were on a “zero-hours contract” in the period October to December 2016, representing 2.8% of people in employment. This is 13% higher than the figure reported from the same period in 2015. It is likely that this data includes an effect due to an increased awareness and recognition of the term “zero-hours contract”, particularly around 2012 and 2013. Office for National Statistics, May 14


Latest figures for the UK Gini coefficient show this has fallen to its lowest level since 1984, indicating a recent reduction in inequality of income. A Gini coefficient of 0 would indicate perfect equality where every member of the population has exactly the same income, while a Gini coefficient of 100 would indicate that one person would have all the income. Analysis of Gini coefficients for all households over time show cash benefits consistently have the largest effect on reducing inequality. Office for National Statistics, May 7


In 2016 11% of the UK labour market (30.3 million) were non-UK nationals; EU nationals contributed 7% (2.2 million) and non-EU nationals 4% (1.2 million). The highest proportion of UK, EU14 (original and early-EU states) and non-EU nationals worked in public admin, education and health sectors (estimated 31%, 26% and 28%) respectively. The highest proportion (26%) of resident EU8 (more recent EU states from Eastern Europe) nationals worked in the wholesale and retail trade, hotels and restaurants sector; 22% of EU8 nationals were estimated to be employed in the manufacturing sector. Office for National Statistics, May 1


The International Monetary Fund (IMF) produces a global commodity price index for food in US dollars as well as with the price converted into sterling terms, using the monthly average dollar to sterling exchange rate. Since 1997 UK food prices in sterling have largely been close to or lower than the converted dollar price. However, since November 2015 there has been an unusual divergence between the two, with sterling prices increasing at a much faster rate than their equivalent dollar prices. This is due to the significant depreciation of sterling against the dollar over this period and also possibly because producers are arranging to “hedge” against potential exchange rate effects. Office for National Statistics, April 11


The households saving ratio, including non-profit institutions serving households (NPISH), is the amount of money households are able to save as a percentage of their total disposable income. For the year 2016, this households saving ratio was 5.2%, compared with 6.5% in 2015; the lowest annual saving ratio since records began in 1963. In Oct-Dec 2016, this saving ratio fell to 3.3% from 5.3% in July-Sept 2016 – again the lowest quarterly saving ratio since 1963. This most recent fall is largely due to an increase in consumption expenditure together with a fall of income from investments and pensions. Office for National Statistics, April 2


When UK residents visit abroad a large majority spend their time in Europe. In January 2017 alone, UK residents made 4.6 million visits abroad, an increase of 9% compared with January 2016. In the same month, overseas residents made 2.9m visits to the UK. This chart gives an indication of the scale of potential visa and border control resources that will be needed between the UK and Europe after 2019. Source: Office for National Statistics, March 27



Recently, the price of oil has had a dominant influence on Producer Price Index (PPI) output price growth. Between 2014 and 2016, refined petroleum products were a large contributor to output price deflation, while from late 2016 they have become the largest contributor to output price inflation.  Source: Office for National Statistics, March 21


The value of acquisitions of UK companies by foreign companies (inward M&A) rose considerably in 2016. The reported value of inward M&A reached a total of £187.4 billion – the highest since records began in 1969. While M&A figures are volatile, this 2016 value was substantially larger than the previous high recorded in 2007 (£82.1bn) and the value recorded in 2015 (£33.3bn). The number of inward acquisitions in 2016 (227) was similar to that seen during 2010 and 2011. Source: Office for National Statistics, March 12


The pyramid chart shows the age and sex of the UK population. The effects of the 1960s’ baby boom can be seen in the number of people aged between 45 and 55 and their children can be seen in the higher number of people in their 20s. The lower populations of people in their late 30s and early teens is due to lower fertility in the 1970s and early 2000s. The number of people aged 20 to 35 in 2015 has increased compared with 2005 due to a contribution to the UK population through immigration. Office of National Statistics, Overview of the UK population: March 5


This week’s chart explores the unused capacity in the UK labour market. In December 2016 there were 31.8 million people in work, including 3.5m non-UK nationals, and there were 1.6m people unemployed.  8.5 million people were working part-time (average 16.2 hours per week) and of these, those that wanted to work full-time represent 2 per cent of the potential supply of hours to the UK economy. As both location and skills restrict the perfect matching of available hours with jobs, limited further capacity could be found in a shift from part-time to full time employment. Source: Office of National Statistics, Monthly economic commentary: February 26


In December 2016 in a total UK workforce of 31.9 million, 2.30m were born in the EU and 3.24m were born elsewhere in the world. According to current worker nationality, this same total included 2.24m EU citizens and 1.24m citizens from the rest of the world. Therefore, 3% of EU born workers and 62% of workers born outside of the EU had changed their original citizenship. EU workers behaved differently to their non-EU counterparts probably due to an assumption that their rights would be protected by the 1992 Treaty of Maastricht of which the UK was a signatory. Source: ONS UK labour market, Feb 19


12th February 2017

Residential property prices (real) since the new millennium have followed different paths in different countries. Ireland has seen a rollercoaster ride and the US less so, though both have seen prices start to recover in recent years. Prices in the UK stuttered around the global financial crisis (GFC) before regaining their momentum. In Italy and Russia property prices continued to fall after the GFC, quite steeply for the latter. Meanwhile, in Germany prices run counter current, slowly descending into the GFC before recovering strongly thereafter. As property asset values affect economic sentiment, the chart reveals likely differences between the selected countries. Source: OECD Analytical house price indicators, February 12


The OECD PIAAC programme conducts a Survey of Adult Skills in a number of countries. Literacy and numeracy skills tend to have a small peak between the ages of 25-34, before markedly declining for older age groups. For the UK population this decline with age is tiny. However, for literacy and numeracy skills, the UK 16-24 year age group has now been overtaken by those of the same age in many other comparable economies. Source: Skills Matter, OECD Publishing, June 2016.


This chart shows how average earnings have changed in France, the United Kingdom, Germany and United States, with all currencies converted into $ using a purchasing power parity (PPP) adjustment that accounts for differences in the cost of household goods in the four countries. Between 2000 and 2015, annual earnings in the UK peaked at about 2007, whereas earnings in the other three counties have seen a slow but steady rise. Source: OECD


Disposable income is the final income left after taxes have been taken and benefits have been reimbursed, and the chart shows the five quintiles of disposable income from the lowest income fifth to the highest. Here we see that over the nine years to 2016 the lowest income households have seen their real disposable income rise by 13.2 per cent while the highest paid households have yet to reach the disposable income they had in 2007. The 60 per cent of households between these extremes show an intermediate effect. Office of National Statistics, January 22


University challenge: foreign born (first generation) migrants into European Union states aged 20-64 years and split according to their education attainment.  This data from 2014 shows that almost one person in two arrived in the UK with a university degree or an equivalent college or vocational qualification. Source: Eurostat ISCED11 data [lfso_14beduc]


Grey market: annual disposable income of UK retired households in 1990 was 58% of the disposable income of non-retired households. By 2015 it had risen to 83%.  Office of National Statistics, January 9