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  • Today's business and finance round up 19th May 2021

Today's business and finance round up 19th May 2021

Today's issue - 📊Signs of recovery in the jobs market

19th May 2021

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Today's stories

  • Signs of recovery in the jobs market

  • Amazon in talks to buy James Bond studio MGM

Yesterday's market moves

FTSE 100 0.0%   7,034 FTSE 250 +0.5% 22,333

The markets started the day strongly with investors optimistic about the economy reopening and the positive UK employment stats (more below). However this optimism faded in the afternoon, the FTSE 100 closed flat and the FTSE 250 was up 0.5%.

Signs of recovery in the jobs market

What’s going on

The UK jobs market is in the early stages of recovery according to official data. The unemployment rate was 4.8%, better than the market expected and a touch lower than it was in February.

The number of vacancies between February and April averaged at 657,000, up almost 50,000 on the previous quarter.

The number of payroll employees rose by 100,000 and has now increased for the fifth straight month.

Why is this important

Last year, as the pandemic shutdown the economy, there were huge concerns that there would be a steep rise in unemployment. Some analyst predicted we could hit double digit unemployment rates, something not seen since the early 1990s.

The furlough scheme was introduced to protect workers in the most affected sectors.

Data out yesterday shows that the jobs market has not suffered the severe hit many feared. With restrictions easing across the country, companies are starting to feel more confident hiring especially in industries that were forced to close in the last year.

The unemployment rate is also a much lower peak than after the 2008 financial crisis, when the rate rose from 5.2% in late 2007 to a peak of 8.5% by the autumn of 2011.


The UK economy is not out of the woods yet. The employment stats are positive but still only “green shoots” on the road to recovery. Although the number of payroll employees is rising it still remains 772,000 below pre pandemic levels.

Unemployment is also still higher than the 4% rate before the pandemic and the Bank of England estimates that the rate will peak at close to 5.5% after the furlough scheme ends in September.

Amazon in talks to buy James Bond studio MGM

MGM, one of Hollywood’s oldest studios and famous for its Leo the lion emblem is reportedly being sold to Amazon.

MGM owns a library of 4,000 film titles including the James Bond franchise, The Hobbit and TV shows such as The Handmaid’s Tale.

Bond is one of the most valuable franchises of all time, with its 24 films to date grossing more than $7 billion, behind only the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Star Wars, Harry Potter and Spider-Man films.

Amazon is apparently not the only one that has been interested, Netflix and Apple have also been in the mix in recent years after MGM put itself up for sale.

This deal is another chapter in the recent content wars that yesterday saw AT&T and Discovery agree to combine their content which includes Harry Potter, Batman and Game of Thrones.

The new media giants of Amazon and Netflix are taking on the traditional players such as Disney and WarnerMedia in a competition for consumer streaming time.

Covid-19 Vaccine Update

  • In the past 24 hours 107k UK adults have had their first dose and 259k have had the second dose.

  • This means 69.9% of UK adults have had at least one dose of a vaccine, 39.0% of adults have had two doses.

Other stories to keep you in the loop

  • Cost of UK’s pandemic response climbs to £372 billion (read more)

  • Eurostar secures £250m rescue package (read more)

  • Vodafone shares sink after revenues slump (read more)

Stat of the day

A new study found just 12 people are responsible for 65% of Covid disinformation on social media