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Our Christmas Quiz offers an eclectic test of knowledge of economics and business. The answers and a brief explanation of the factors at work are at the end of this note.
The global recovery since the financial crisis has not been vigorous. But it has been running for 11 years and it has absorbed a lot of workers. Globally a record 3.3 billion people are in work, 14% more than ten years ago.
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.
Free market capitalism has faced intense criticism in recent years. Even that most basic tenet of the post-‘70s era, the free movement of capital and floating exchange rates, has its critics. Some on the left believe that a government set on fundamentally reforming capitalism might need to bring in controls to prevent capital leaving the country and a sharp currency devaluation.