Archive for May, 2011

Rocky road to financial recovery

Although the UK entered recession as long ago as the second half of 2008 and officially exited recession at the end of 2009, a full recovery still seems a long way off. This week was one of mixed messages – some good and some bad.

First came the bad news that the Consumer Price Index (CPI) had increased from 4% to 4.5% in April. The CPI is used to measure inflation in the UK and to compare it with the government’s target of 2%. A low level of inflation (like 2%) is a sign of a healthy economy, but higher rates usually mean that the costs of goods and services are increasing faster than workers’ wages, leading to a lower standard of living. For those of us already finding it hard to make ends meet, this is obviously bad news.

On the flip side, however, there was news that unemployment fell in the first quarter of this year. The decrease was only slight, to 7.7% from 7.8% the previous quarter, but it is a promising sign – as is the fact that the number of people in employment has increased to 29.24 million, just short of the pre-recession peak of 29.57 million.

What does all of this mean? Well unfortunately, these numbers are just a small part of the complex system that makes up the British economy and predicting what will happen next is astonishingly difficult – as no doubt you’ve noticed in the past few years. However, it seems that the economy is continuing on its long, slow recovery from the greatest recession in living memory. The recovery appears to be fragile – which is one of the reasons that the Bank of England has left its base rate at 0.5% for the 26th month in a row. You know what they say – slow and steady wins the race!

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Saturday, May 21st, 2011 Economy No Comments

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