Economists Repeatedly Wrong About UK’s Pandemic Recovery

New data from the ONS shows the UK economy is now back at pre-pandemic levels, with GDP growth at 0.9% between October and November – 0.7% larger than in February 2020, just before Covid hit. Obviously good news… although not quite the news we were all told to expect…

Back in January 2021, the FT’s annual economists’ survey painted a dire picture for the year ahead:

“Economists expect the UK economic recovery in 2021 to be slower than in peer countries, because of a lower starting point, a larger services sector, low business investment and the impact of Brexit.”

The survey asked nearly 100 economists to look into their crystal balls and predict the future. Almost all of them said they “expect the size of the economy not to return to pre-pandemic levels until the third quarter of 2022”. Scrolling through the survey made for miserable reading. Unemployment, bankruptcies and the horrors of Brexit were all supposed to thwart our recovery…

Instead, growth is now higher than pre-Covid, and unemployment is estimated at 4.2% – even after the end of furlough in September. Congratulations go to Erik Britton, Patrick Minford, and Tej Parikh, who were the only economists from the FT survey to actually get it right…

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