Employee confidence in the UK has fallen for the third consecutive quarter and the number of workers actively looking for new jobs is down 8 per cent as people hunker down for the perceived storms ahead.
A recession is defined as two consecutive quarters of declining GDP. In the UK, GDP fell 0.2 per cent in the second quarter and predictions for the third quarter range between another drop of 0.2 per cent or 0.2 per cent growth. But with third quarter figures still weeks from release, observers are seeing signs elsewhere that the UK might be heading into a recession. Revised GDP figures are due for release on Monday.
A survey by Gartner has found that staff confidence in the business environment has fallen from 47.6 per cent in the first three months of 2019 to 44.6 per cent in the second quarter. UK confidence in the mid to long-term prospects is 7 per cent below the international index average.
All this has increased the number of people intending to stay with their current employer by 11.4 per cent.
Brian Kropp, chief of research for the Gartner HR, said: "With all of the economic uncertainty surrounding Brexit, a previously vibrant UK labour market now seems to be running out of gas. Opportunities, rewards, and bright business prospects are perceived to be waning. Historically, these sorts of shifts precede a recession, and coupled with the headwinds of a US-China trade war, a global decline may be in the future."
The survey also found a sharp division between reasons for UK workers to leave jobs when compared to the rest of the world. The most common complaints internationally were compensation, future career opportunities and people management, in that order.
For UK staff, the biggest reasons to quit a job were people management, work-life balance and manager quality.
Gartner's figures are drawn from its Global Labour Market survey, which covers 40,000 people in 40 countries.
UK figures from Comptia blamed a 13 per cent drop in technology job ads on global uncertainties and the B-word.
The European Sentiment Index, a monthly measure of consumer confidence, has been falling all year in the UK and is now at 92.5 compared to an EU average of 101.4
The news in the tech sector, which has seen more of an impact from Trump's tariff rattling against China, is not great either.
IDC's cloud infrastructure figures show a decline in the second quarter of 10.2 per cent. Public cloud infrastructure was especially hard hit with a 15 per cent drop year-on-year although analysts warned that this number is hit by a small number of very large providers, which have their own mood swings.
The UK's Office for Budget Responsibility also said this week that government borrowing had increased by £17.8bn to £41.4bn, although the lion's share was due to more realistic accounting of student loans – half of which are now considered as "spending" because they will never be paid back.
If the current government remains in place and keeps its promises, it looks likely to break the 2-per-cent-of-GDP borrowing rules.
Steve Brazier, CEO at Canalys, strikes a cheerier note for the economy, but not for the prospects of a swift end to Brexit paralysis.
He told The Register: "The UK economy, particularly large accounts and government, have put buying plans on hold as they await the outcome of Brexit. After the events of this week, it seems now inconceivable that Brexit, in any form, will happen in 2019 and that could well mean that Q4 this year provides the tech industry with a 'relief bounce'." ®