Growth in The Monday Briefing
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Depending on how Brexit goes 2019 could see UK growth accelerate or almost grind to a halt. So, say two forecasting groups which have modelled the economic effects of the UK’s exit from the EU.
In time, breakneck growth in the early stages of industrialisation gives way to slower growth. All industrialised nations experience this change as a manufacturing boom fuelled by cheap labour runs its course.
Slowing growth in Europe and emerging markets and October’s equity sell off have got economists pondering when the next recession might strike.
It ended on a high note last week, but overall October was a rotten month for equities. The world equity market has just had its worst month since 2012, with the benchmark MSCI world index down 7% in October. This fall has more than reversed earlier gains, leaving the global index down 3% so far this year.
The UK is running out of workers. At 4.0% the unemployment rate is at the lowest level since the early 1970s. This is below the rate in historically low-unemployment countries including Sweden, Denmark and Canada. A record 832,000 jobs are unfilled in the UK (two of them in the economics team). The attrition rate, the rate at which people change jobs, has shot up to its highest level since records began in 2001.
The financial crisis, recession and a slow recovery played havoc with the UK’s public finances, leaving the government with the largest ever peacetime budget deficit.
The third quarter Deloitte survey of UK Chief Financial Officers released today shows concerns about Brexit weighing heavily on business sentiment.
Last week the team came across some remarkable data. The Oxford economist Max Roser estimates that in 1820 more than 90% of the world’s population lived in extreme, absolute poverty, defined as living on less than $2 per day in today’s money. By 1981 this had fallen to 44% of the world’s population. Today it stands at less than 10% of the world’s population.
The summer months tend to be pretty thin for media coverage of economics and finance. Like the rest of us, journalists take their holidays in July and August. Yet economics is no respecter of holidays and events and data have continued to pile up.