Reeves’ Holiday from Economic Reality

Today’s GDP figures provided the smallest imaginable crumb of comfort to Jeremy Hunt, with the UK economy seeing an unexpected uptick in November of 0.1%, mainly thanks to Brits getting smashed during the world cup. We could drink ourselves into prosperity if we each put in the effort…

Naturally Labour honed in on the more negative picture from the quarter as a whole, with a 0.3% shrink in the three months to November. Rachel Reeves put out a statement shortly after the figures were published, slamming “another page in the book of failure that is the Tory record on growth.”

What Reeves didn’t mention is that the 0.3% fall in GDP was, as Reuters write, “driven by a 0.6% fall in output in September when many businesses closed to mark Queen Elizabeth’s funeral.”

Not only can the death of the sovereign and subsequent mourning period hardly be laid at the door of the current government, Rachel Reeves – indeed every sitting Labour MP – stood on a 2019 manifesto promising not one, not two but four extra bank holidays every year. Something Guido notes the cost of which were not included in Labour’s costings document that year…

mdi-timer 13 January 2023 @ 10:32 13 Jan 2023 @ 10:32 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Keir Facing Extinction

This morning the ONS 2021 baby names data was published. Guido’s been enjoying the annual tradition of seeing whether any politicians have inspired parents so much as to influence their birth certificate decisions. The main bad news comes for Sir Keir, whose name is now facing extinction levels. In 2019, there were 15 baby Keirs; in 2020 that fell to nine; in 2021, a year into his leadership of The Labour Party, that figure now stands at just six – a 60% drop. Will Labour’s poll lead this year do anything to improve the only statistic dropping quicker than the pound?

Meanwhile, Boris managed to cling onto popularity, with the number of babies named after the then-PM sticking to its 2019 figure of 39 – the 815th most popular boys’ name out of over 4,600. Rishi’s numbers, improved by forcing everyone to stay at home for three months while paying their wages, are remarkable. They leaped by 77% between 2019 and 2020, and now hold steady at 41 uses in 2021. It seems many Britons, if not Tory members, were #Ready4Rishi…

mdi-timer 6 October 2022 @ 16:00 6 Oct 2022 @ 16:00 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
UK Narrowly Avoided Recession in Q2

There is a rare sliver of good economic news this morning, as the ONS confirmed we are not currently in recession. The body has announced that a previous estimate that economic growth fell by 0.1% in the three months to June has been revised up to a rise of 0.2%, narrowly avoiding a second month of negative growth which would have defined the UK as in a recession. Small mercies…

The UK’s current account deficit has also improved, according to the revised figures, from the £43.9 billion previously calculated to a mere £33.8 billion.

Liz and Kwasi shouldn’t be too pleased, however. The ONS now also calculates that the UK economy has recovered less from the pandemic than previously believed and is now the only G7 country still languishing below pre-pandemic levels by 0.2% compared to the final quarter of 2019. The Queen’s death and subsequent economic pandemonium are expected to quash any hope of further good GDP news in the final two quarters of 2022…

mdi-timer 30 September 2022 @ 08:20 30 Sep 2022 @ 08:20 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Starmer’s Leadership is Threatening Keirs Everywhere

The ONS released their annual survey of baby names this morning, and Guido can report that while the number of Borises being born is holding steady, the number of Keirs has plummeted. 15 Keirs were born in 2019, yet by 2020, this number plummeted by 40% to just 9. As a result, Sir Keir’s name has fallen from 1587th most popular to 2228thThe PM will be happy that the number of baby Borises remains constant at 745th, with 43 born in 2020…

Carrie may also join in despair with Sir Keir. Despite 18 Carries born in 2018, and 14 in 2019, 2020 saw just seven – a ranking fall from 1940th most popular to 3117thLabour’s deputy leader is proving less of a turn-off for parents than her leader, with 54 Angelas born in 2020 – a very popular baby name at 683th

mdi-timer 18 October 2021 @ 13:04 18 Oct 2021 @ 13:04 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Unemployment Drops, ONS Says “No Signs” of Post-Furlough Job Cuts

Rishi will be walking with a cautiously optimistic spring in his step this morning, after the ONS announced unemployment has fallen by 182,000 between June and July, with overall figures for workers on payrolls 201,000 lower than pre-pandemic. Two weeks ago the Chamber of Commerce claimed one in five firms was planning to cut jobs as furlough wound down…

Contrary to their pessimism, Jonathan Athow, deputy national statistician for economic statistics at the ONS, said:

“There was no sign of redundancies starting to pick up in our survey data ahead of the furlough scheme beginning to wind down, and Insolvency Service figures for July suggest the same.”

“The world of work continues to rebound robustly from the effects of the pandemic.”

“The number of people on payroll was up again strongly and has now grown over half a million in the past three months, regaining about four-fifths of the fall seen at the start of the pandemic.”

Even more optimistically, Athow took to Twitter to point out there are further optimistic signs, with “high levels of vacancies”, which – if they feed through to more jobs – “should see increased employment in coming months”. He says to wait and see what happens as furlough continues to wind down, though reiterates there are no indications of large-scale planned redundancies “at the moment”…

mdi-timer 17 August 2021 @ 08:26 17 Aug 2021 @ 08:26 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
GDP Up 2.1% in March

The first month of cautious unlocking saw GDP growth of 2.1%, the fastest monthly growth since August 2020 – merely from schools in parts of the UK beginning to re-open. Could April and May’s figures compete with last June’s 9.1% rise?

Once again, the construction industry is the main driver, up 5.8% on the previous month and the only measure to be higher than pre-pandemic levels, by 2.4%. All areas were up, however, including manufacturing (+2.1%) and services (+1.9%), albeit still both down on their pre-pandemic levels by 2.2% and 7.2% respectively. Unfortunately it wasn’t strong enough to reverse the fortunes of Quarter 1 as a whole, with GDP falling 1.5% overall in the first three months…

mdi-timer 12 May 2021 @ 07:36 12 May 2021 @ 07:36 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
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