US economic growth has been revised upwards to 2.5 per cent. A pretty impressive rate, given that the UK is currently stagnating at just 0.7 per cent. On the other hand, it looks less impressive when compared to China’s booming 7.6 per cent (even though, for China, that’s a slowdown).
But wait a minute. Economists across the land are howling in pain at this jumble of misinterpretation. These rates aren’t comparable at all – because they’re all measuring different things. Read more
The number of working-age households in the UK has fallen for the first time since data collection began nearly 20 years ago, according to new figures from the Office for National Statistics.
Household growth has been fairly steady over the past two decades, with the overall population continuing to grow, and this is the first time figures* have actually dropped. Pressures such as low real wage growth and rising housing costs have created economic constraints in recent years which could help to explain the dramatic shift.
In particular, the numbers of single-person and lone parent households have fallen, hinting at housing affordability pressures. The number of couples with dependent children (under 18s) rose year-on-year, suggesting that families may be staying together rather than separating. Read more
The “oldest old” – generally defined as those aged 80 or 85 and over – are rising as a percentage of total population in both developed and emerging economies. So the question arises about how the healthcare costs of this increasingly frail group should be shared.
In the US, where health expenditure per capita is roughly twice that of any other developed economy, the question is particularly vexed. Recent proposals to rein in Medicare, which provides health care for those aged 65 and over, include measures that would require individuals to pay more from their own pockets than they do right now. Read more
by Roger Blitz, FT leisure industries correspondent
Weather prospects are mixed for the UK’s tourist attractions and businesses over this long late-summer bank holiday weekend. But the sector has received a boost from new data showing that tourism outflanked all other sectors in jobs growth in the year before the London Olympic Games. Read more
Emerging markets have been pummelled since May when talk of the US Federal Reserve reducing its asset purchase programme began. Worries that the end of cheap money would raise borrowing costs and reverse the massive inflows that emerging markets had enjoyed since western central banks introduced extraordinary measures in 2009, has taken its toll particularly on markets that suffer from current account deficits. Central banks of emerging markets have started to act to shore up their currencies and confidence, but how do these economies stack up against each other in terms of economic health, and which ones are more vulnerable?
The rupee is tumbling once more – and for those with long memories, this all looks rather familiar.
In 1991 investors deserted India as turbulence descended: prime minister Rajiv Gandhi was assassinated and what’s now known as the Balance of Payments Crisis gripped the country.
The episode was enough to put a serious dent in the country’s booming economic growth.
What caused it? Read more