The new radio series from Sir Andrew Dilnot, chair of the UK Statistics Authority, is an entertaining, accessible look at Britain’s social history – and one that readers of this blog will probably find rather interesting.
(c) Financial Times/Shaun Curry
Sir Andrew opens the first episode declaring “It is about us, not governments”, and that is the theme running through the series. With a mixture of single statistics, and interviews he tries to build a picture of changes in the life of ordinary British people, rather than looking at policy.
With each episode clocking it at around 15 minutes, and the timeframe running from medieval times to the current day, the programme aims for historical sweep, rather than contemporary analysis.
After five years of historically low interest rates across the US, UK and eurozone, Wednesday’s vastly improved job forecast from the Bank of England raised the prospect of a return to more normal monetary policy.
A report out today from McKinsey attempts to quantify the impact of years of ultra lose monetary policy has been on the winners – and losers. Whilst there are few surprises in the report, it does attempt to put numbers on the winners and losers.
Unsurprisingly, it is governments that come out on top. The consultancy estimates that between 2007 and 2012 the US, UK and eurozone governments collectively benefited to the tune of $1.6tr from lower borrowing costs and the increased profits from central banks.
For consumers though it is a mixed bag.
Beneath Wednesday’s headline estimation the UK’s population will rise by just under 10 million over the next 25 years is a trove of data set to be picked over by statisticians.
Whilst the Office for National Statistics stresses the numbers are not forecasts and do not predict the impact of future policies, the numbers form the basis for a host of policy calculations – notably in health, education, housing and pensions. Here are a few of the key underlying trends:
Can social media data give useful real-time information during the progress of natural disasters? A group of academics thinks it could.
Researchers from Warwick University in the UK looked at pictures uploaded to Flickr during the lead-up and aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. As the two graphs below show, there was a strong correlation between the number of pictures taken and atmospheric pressure.
It is déjà vu time for Sony investors as the Japanese electronics company revises down its income expectations again.
The profit warning is the latest in a slew of downgrades over the past few years – in 2011 Sony infamously downgraded its net income forecasts four times.
The red bars below are Sony’s net income forecasts for 2011 at various times, and the blue bar shows the actual net loss of Y456.7bn.
The Financial Times has won two prestigious Eppy awards for excellence in online journalism.
The UK Austerity Audit, a data-led project investigating the impact of sweeping benefit changes on local economies, won in the best investigative feature category and the FT picked up a second gong for the best mobile website.