Financial outlook in UK strongest since January 2015
Though falling slightly from 45.3 in February to 44.8, the seasonally adjusted Markit UK Household Finance Index (HFI) was well above its long-run average (39.8). Moreover, the trend seen across the first quarter as a whole (44.7) was the highest since Q2 2015.
Among the eight job sectors covered by the survey, only finance/business services registered anoutright improvement in financial wellbeing. That marked a four-month period of growth in the sector – a survey-record for any category.
The financial strain was broad-based by region in March, with households in the North East the most downbeat. Those based in the Midlands reported the weakest financial pressures.
Ongoing growth of workplace activity and sustained low inflation perceptions ensured that the financial squeeze remained muted in March. However, lower savings and cash available to spend continued to weigh down finances.
Furthermore, households reported the first reduction in income from employment since December 2014. ■