Tuesday, January 26, 2010

So that's that then. The UK has emerged out of recession, with growth of 0.1% in the last quarter of last year. This is not a spectacular bounce back, and the receovery is set to be fragile for some time to come. The restoration of VAT to 17.5% at the start of this year may have led some people to prepone major purchases, so there could be a downward blip in demand during the current quarter. And while political considerations have delayed the announcement of savage public expenditure cuts (and - given that the patient is still in intensive care - that is probably just as well), such cuts will surely come.

While the unemployment rate fell last month, this was surprising. Over the longer term, expect the economy to have to grow by 2-2.5% per year before seeing a sustained decline in unemployment. In light of the pressure on public finances, it could well be another two years, at least, before this is achieved.

We're out of recession, but not out of the woods.