George Osborne, the UK chancellor, announced in Wednesday’s Autumn Statement the “biggest housebuilding programme since the 1970s”. This included 400,000 new affordable homes in England by 2020, a 3% stamp duty increase for buy-to-let and second home buyers, and a new help-to-buy scheme just for London. The measures are aimed at tackling the “crisis in home ownership in Britain”. Read more
This year’s report from the European Commission on small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) shows that attracting customers remained the most pressing problem for firms in 2014, but less so than in previous years. The proportion of firms citing skilled staff and regulation as major problems has increased since 2011. Read more
A weak euro is good news for eurozone exporters, especially Greece, Germany, Finland and Ireland, which rely on buyers outside the zone for over 60 per cent of goods exports. The Netherlands and Portugal, exporting mostly to eurozone neighbours are less likely to be affected
Marriott has announced the acquisition of rival Starwood. Both are among the top five largest hotel groups and the planned purchase would make the combined company the uncontested top global hotel player.
Chinese ecommerce company Alibaba accounted for 14 per cent of global retail sales value in 2015. That was a sharp rise from 1 per cent only five years ago. Amazon is still the biggest player, but its market share is only marginally higher than in 2010, while eBay lost ground.
Global cruise passengers topped 22 million last year according to the Cruise Lines International Association, up from 13 million ten years before. The majority are from North America, but the number of passengers grew faster in Europe and the rest of the world.
All ethnic minority groups in the UK are now significantly more likely to go to university than their white British counterparts. On average, amongst the cohort who sat their GCSEs in 2008, only one third of the white British population went to university in the academic year 2010-11 or 2011-12, compared to 75 per cent of ethnic Chinese pupils and 67 per cent of Indian students. Read more
The share of the Eurozone population reporting that the single currency is a good thing stood at 61 per cent in the latest annual survey from Eurobarometer, up 4 percentage points from the previous year, and compared with 45 per cent in 2007. This is the highest level since Eurobarometer started tracking support in 2002. Read more
India should be a good strategic trade partner for the UK. With an economic growth faster then China – set to top seven per cent this year, a rapidly improving business environment and a large Indian-born population resident in the UK, it seems the perfect target market for UK companies.
Except that it is not. Read more
“America’s labour market is not working” wrote Martin Wolf this week in a column analysing the poor performance of the country’s labour force participation rate. In a recent blog post we investigated possible reasons of the fall only to find that participation rates shrank among all demographic, education or civil-status groups.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics- which produces the participation numbers – does not compile data on reasons for inactivity, but the US Census Bureau could fill the knowledge gap, as it tabulates the reasons why people did or did not work in previous years. However, this data is much more difficult to access than that of the BLS and consequently less frequently used and quoted. Read more
About two in three small and medium-sized enterprises in the EU have a website presenting their products and/or services according to a Eurobarometer survey of more than 14,000 companies. The share is higher in Northern Europe with nearly 9 in 10 companies having that facility in Denmark. Read more
Chinese cross-border merger and acquisition deals are rising and China is taking its place as a leading global investor alongside the advanced economies. But the targets of Chinese acquisitions are changing. Once dominated by commodities, they are increasingly composed of technology, finance, automobile, and real estate companies.
The amount invested by Chinese companies for mergers and acquisitions abroad in the first 10 months of this year has already reached what was invested in the whole of last year, which was in turn 7 per cent higher than in 2013. Read more
Halloween has arrived, boosting kids’ morale and global pumpkin production. Both the success of the Halloween festivities, characterised by carving pumpkins in monster shapes, and the high nutritious value of pumpkins have been driving production growth in the last two decades.
In 2013 nearly 25 million tonnes of pumpkins and squash were produced around the world, about double the amount produced twenty years before. Read more
The average time needed to start a business around the globe has more than halved from 51 days in 2003 to 20 days this year, according to the 2016 edition of the World Bank “Doing Business“. Read more
Adult obesity rose across all countries in the last four years, but it still quite rare in Asia. It affects less than one in four people in most European countries, though is higher in the UK. In the US, one in three adults is obese.
Nearly eight in 10 African employees in the private sector in South Africa are unskilled or semi-skilled workers. Only a few have top or senior management positions. By contrast, two in five white employees are in top, senior or middle-management positions.
Coffee production in Vietnam doubled in the last 10 years making the country the world’s second-largest producer after Brazil. With over 27 million 60-kg bags produced annually, Vietnam accounts for 20 per cent of world coffee output, up from 5 per cent just twenty years ago.
China is now the world’s second-largest services producer after the US. It overtook Japan, Germany, the UK and France in less than a decade. However, the US’s services output is still more than double that of China.
Nearly two in five adults in Great Britain perceive David Cameron as more competent than Jeremy Corbyn, opposition Labour Leader. The share rises to more than half of the over-60s. But Corbyn is seen as more trustworthy, especially among young people.
It’s about time that the Bureau of Labor Statistics knew more about the 20 million Americans of prime working age who are outside the labour force and do not want a job now. Here is why.
The US labour force participation rate has been shrinking since it peaked in the late 1990s and is now back to levels seen in the 1980s. Suggested reasons for the fall include an aging population, the rise of discouraged workers, young people spending more time in education, changes in the racial make-up of the society, potential employees who lack the right skills, statistical methods, and an unfriendly working environment for mothers. Read more