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  • A rise in enquiries among specialist contractors has seen nearly a third press ahead with plans to expand within the next three months. According to the latest National Specialist Contractors Council State of Trade Survey firms have seen a rise in enquires for the third quarter in a row during the early summer. Order levels in the second quarter were also up with 44% reporting an increase, compared to just 27% last quarter. This increase in trade has led 31% of specialist contractors to look at expanding their businesses in the next three months, with 41% planning expansion over the next year.
  • Construction and property are leading the recovery in the jobs market with a near doubling in opportunities compared to this time last year. The latest Reed Job Index from the online recruiter showed that July 2013 is up 17% year on year, but job opportunities in the construction and property sector increased by 92% on July 2012.
  • British house prices rose at their fastest annual pace in nearly three years last month, and are likely to increase further in the remainder of 2013, mortgage lender Halifax said on 5th August. Halifax said that house prices in the three months to July were 4.6 percent higher than a year earlier, beating economists' forecasts and their fastest pace of growth since August 2010.  Prices rose by 0.9 percent in July alone, gathering pace from a 0.6 percent increase in June.
UK Economy

  • Manufacturing output surged in June at the strongest pace since the end of 2010, according to figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS). Manufacturing output rose 1.9% month-on-month in June, following declines in both May and April. This growth came at more than twice the rate expected by analysts. The latest upbeat news follows a stream of positive economic data showing an improvement in the UK economy. Overall, industrial production, which covers output from the UK's factories and mines, rose by 1.1% between May 2013 and June 2013.
  • Retail sales enjoyed their fastest July growth in seven years, thanks to the month's heatwave, according to the British Retail Consortium (BRC). On a like-for-like basis, the BRC said sales had been up 2.2% compared with last year and July was the third successive month of improving figures. Retail sales had a dismal April, after being hit by the cold start to spring. The July figures are the best monthly set since the prolonged heatwave in 2006. 
  • The number of people declared insolvent in England and Wales fell by 6.1% in the second quarter of the year compared with the same period a year ago. However, there was a slight rise in insolvencies compared with the previous three months, the Insolvency Service figures show. Insolvency levels have been on a downward trend since 2009. The data shows that the number of companies going into administration is similar to a year ago. There were 622 firms entering administration in April to July, compared with 625 a year earlier, but up from 557 recorded during the previous quarter. Companies wound up totally - known as liquidation - rose by 10.5% compared with the first quarter of the year, to 3,978, but fell by 2.1% compared with April to July last year.

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