Has your world been turned upside down by the latest GDP figures?

27 July 2011
Yesterday, it was announced that GDP in the UK has increased by 0.2 per cent in the last quarter, the lowest rate of growth since the first quarter of 2010, when the economy officially emerged from the recession. As expected, newspapers, economists and politicians have responded to this figure like it’s a syringe full of adrenaline. “If only you hadn’t pushed up VAT, we’d all be working four days a week and sipping Cristal at lunch,” I imagine one economist said. I love the comedy that erupts whenever figures such as this are announced. But I can’t get over this niggling suspicion that, despite the apocalyptic rhetoric produced, they don’t mean very much at all. Generally, the business week runs from Monday to Friday all year round. Purchasers buy things on each of those working days - not once a quarter. The state of the economy yesterday is pretty much the same as it was the day before that – and buyers don’t need a report to tell them. The fact growth is slower than expected is disappointing, but it’s a fact. Stuff still needs to be bought, people still need to be paid and political grandstanding won’t make an iota of difference. If the UK economy is going to get back on track it will be because purchasers, manufacturers, accountants and a whole plethora of other professionals do their jobs with diligence and hard work. So perhaps you could finish the following sentence for me in the comments section below. “In my opinion, the benefit of growth figures, confidence measures and other statistics is…”
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