25 Apr 2013

Not so much ‘Happy Days’ as bumping along the bottom

No tickertape or “Happy Days are Here Again” at the ONS briefing in Church House near parliament, I’m afraid.

If you were George Osborne toying with putting some extra capital spending back into the economy (inter alia, to get the IMF off your back), today’s ONS figures might make you think even more seriously about devoting it to construction. The ONS says this sector is continuing its shrinkage and is now 18 per cent below its 2008 peak.

The ONS is proud of its record of getting its stats broadly right, but their top economist Joe Grice acknowledged the point made by Chris Giles in the FT this morning that revisions of initial GDP figures have tended to be close to + or – O.4 per cent in recent times.

YouGov has released a note this morning suggesting that voters are getting used to austerity – which may be just as well for the coalition. Despite noises from the Treasury that the economy could be turning a corner, the ONS seems to think there’s nothing in today’s figures to make you think we’ re going to do anything other than bump along the bottom for some time to come.

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