Full employment in Britain has lowered productivity instead of increasing wages
The UK jobs market is booming, as the latest ONS figures show. Unemployment is at its lowest for over 40 years. A record 32.1 million people are in employment, a rise of over 3 million since the financial crisis. Apart from in a few scattered pockets, Britain is at full employment. Usually in such circumstances, […]
Learn Maths, Young Person! The Secret of Success in the 21st Century
A currently fashionable pessimistic topic is the lifetime prospects of children born into the middle class. Graduate debt, lack of finance to buy homes and job insecurity after they graduate, the list goes on. Alan Milburn, the government’s ‘social mobility tsar’, put the seal of approval on this prevailing angst last month. His Social Mobility […]
How to unpick the apparent paradox of falling GDP and rising unemployment
GDP estimates are eagerly awaited in the City, and dominate the media headlines. Huge significance is attached to arithmetically trivial differences, whether between market expectations and the announced figure, or to subsequent revisions to the data.
But GDP is not something which can be put in a set of scales, say, and measured accurately. The concept is clear. It is the value of national output at market prices. Market prices? How do we value the public sector, where there are no market prices? A series of plausible conventions has evolved as to how to value such activities. But there is a substantial amount of arbitrary judgment involved.
Expansionary fiscal contraction
To many people, this phrase is an oxymoron. How can fiscal contraction be expansionary? But the evidence suggests that this is exactly what has been happening in the United States. In terms of national output, GDP, the trough of the trough of the recession was reached in the second quarter of 2009 (2009Q2). We have […]
Limits to taxation? The UK General Election 2010
The May 2010 election saw a substantial swing against the incumbent Labour government, though the Conservatives were denied an outright victory. In a fair number of marginal seats which they would have expected to win on the national trend, the swing to the Conservatives away from Labour was distinctly low. There are obviously many possible […]