The first estimate for euro area exports of goods to the rest of the world in December 2020 was €190.7 billion, an increase of 2.3% compared with December 2019 (€186.4 bn). This is the first increase since February 2020. Imports from the rest of the world stood at €161.5 bn, a fall of 1.3% compared with December 2019 (€163.7 bn). As a result, the euro area recorded a €29.2 bn surplus in trade in goods with the rest of the world in December 2020, compared with +€22.6 bn in December 2019. Intra-euro area trade rose to €148.7 bn in December 2020, up by 0.9% compared with December 2019.
In the fourth quarter of 2020, seasonally adjusted GDP decreased by 0.6% in the euro area and by 0.4% in the EU, compared with the previous quarter, according to a flash estimate published by Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union. These declines follow a strong rebound in the third quarter of 2020 (+12.4% in the euro area and +11.5% in the EU) and the sharpest decreases since the time series started in 1995 observed in the second quarter of 2020 (-11.7% in the euro area and -11.4% in the EU).
The number of employed persons increased by 0.3% in both the euro area and in the EU in the fourth quarter of 2020, compared with the previous quarter. In the third quarter of 2020, employment had increased by 1.0% in the euro area and by 0.9% in the EU.
The UK, which is now officially a separate entity from the EU, saw in January 2021, retail sales volumes decreased by 8.2% when compared with December 2020 as tighter nationwide restrictions affected sales. Retail sales volumes were 5.5% lower than before the pandemic in February 2020 indicating that the impact of restrictions on the retail sector was not as large as that seen in April 2020 during the first full month of retail restrictions when sales fell by 22.2% when compared with levels before the pandemic. All sectors saw a monthly decline in volume sales in January 2021 except for non-store retailers and food stores, who reported growth of 3.7% and 1.4% respectively when compared with December 2020. All store types reported an increase in their proportion of online spending in January 2021 when compared with December 2020; with food stores reaching a historic high of 12.2% of sales conducted online.
Across the pond in the US, in the week ending February 13, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 861,000, an increase of 13,000 from the previous week’s revised level. The previous week’s level was revised up by 55,000 from 793,000 to 848,000. The 4-week moving average was 833,250, a decrease of 3,500 from the previous week’s revised average. The previous week’s average was revised up by 13,750 from 823,000 to 836,750.
The advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was 3.2 percent for the week ending February 6, unchanged from the previous week’s unrevised rate. The advance number for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment during the week ending February 6 was 4,494,000, a decrease of 64,000 from the previous week’s revised level. The previous week’s level was revised up 13,000 from 4,545,000 to 4,558,000. The 4-week moving average was 4,632,000, a decrease of 120,250 from the previous week’s revised average. The previous week’s average was revised up by 3,500 from 4,748,750 to 4,752,250.
In neighboring Canada employment decreased by 231,200 jobs from December to January according to the January ADP Canada National Employment Report. Broadly distributed to the public each month, free of charge, the ADP Canada National Employment Report is produced by the ADP Research Institute. The report, which is derived from actual ADP payroll data, measures the change in total nonfarm payroll employment each month on a seasonally-adjusted basis.