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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3 reader comments

  1. Stephen Townsley says:

    I guess voters think that a no growth economy is a normal one. So if Osborne gets 0.6% this year voters may well be happy with the chancellor.

  2. Philip Edwards says:


    Construction was always going to suffer.

    Usually it is the first to “recover” and the first to come to a grinding halt when the economy is inflated for the umpteenth time – then looted for the umpteenth time.

    The last construction boom was mostly fueled by PFI. But when it was pointed out the whole tory-instigated ripoff was, er, just a ripoff that too had to be made part of the phony “public debt” scam. The quickest and most profitable of all capitalist ripoffs is ALWAYS in new buildings, which is why capitalism is in real trouble without it. Construction activity will presage the next boom too – until that fails and the cycle repeats yet again……..

    If you want to see the future check out the BBC “Hard” Talk with LaGarde of the IMF. As usual, that awful orange woman was full of utter crap such as “entrenched fiscal position” and “media earnings location” and all the other tenth rate jargonised muck that typifies people like her. The talk was so “hard” it managed to avoid mentioning that all 188 members of the IMF are just part of another bankers cartel. LaGarde of course is merely a well-paid bureaucratic apparatchik.

    Bumping along the…

  3. Philip Edwards says:

    ……bottom?…..You ain’t seen nothing yet.

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