This week’s economic news

This week we’ve seen one of the key forward looking indicators of business confidence – the purchasing managers index for Britain’s services sector move up to a 17-month high of 53.2 for July (surpassing expectations for an increase to 51.6); Office for National Statistics data shows an 0.5% jump in June’s industrial production (the largest rise in 20 months) and Halifax says British house prices saw a 1.1% monthly rise in July.

Commenting today, Paul Krugman writes; ‘Two months ago I wrote that there were hints of a relatively quick economic turnaround in Britain. Now those hints have gotten much stronger. Basically, aggressive monetary policy and the depreciation of the pound are giving Britain a boost relative to other advanced countries’.

Finally, the Bank of England has decided to to continue with its programme of asset purchases financed by the issuance of central bank reserves and to increase its size by £50 billion to £175 billion (the ‘qe’ programme) commenting; ‘”On the one hand, there is a considerable stimulus still working through from the easing in monetary and fiscal policy and the past depreciation of sterling. On the other hand, the need for banks to continue repairing their balance sheets is likely to restrict the availability of credit, and past falls in asset prices and high levels of debt may weigh on spending”

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Why its smart to invest in jobs

Yesterday I got confirmation of the Government’s decision to award millions of pounds to Birmingham and its partners to help create 7,500 jobs – especially for young people. Today, there’s fresh evidence highlighted in the New York Times, of just why its so important to keep people in work. Economist, Till von Wachter finds;

“even 15 to 20 years later, most (workers) on average had not returned to their old wage levels. He also concluded that their earnings were about 15 percent to 20 percent less than they would have been had they not been laid off.”

“One of the main reasons for the drop-offs, according to economists, is that workers who endure a layoff are more likely to be laid off again.”

Naturally the Conservative party opposed the Future Jobs Fund…

This week’s economic news

With this week’s news you can see why Alistair Darling has being saying repeatedly that we’re confident but cautious that growth will return at towards the end of the year. News over recent months has been mixed, but today credit rating agency Fitch reaffirmed the Government’s AAA debt rating, adding the outlook is ‘stable’; UK retail sales were up according to the ONS 2.9% on the same month last year; Nationwide reported Thursday that house prices have risen three months in a row, reporting the ‘Three month rate of change at highest level since February 2007’ and the FTSE is back at levels last seen in January. GfK NOP’s also reported on consumer confidence today, noting; ‘Consumer Confidence remains at the same level as last month, fourteen points higher than its all time low of last year, but still very low historically’.

Trans-Atlantic parallels

If you want a quick and easy guide to how closely the Obama administration now mirrors the UK plan for fight-backing against the recession, see Christina Romer’s – the Chair of US Council of Economic Advisors – testimony to Congress. http://tinyurl.com/orwpxk