More than 496m air passengers departed from, or arrived at, Europe’s 10 busiest airports in 2015, a 19 per cent increase from 2006. London’s Heathrow airport recorded an increase of 11.3 per cent, compared with Gatwick’s 18.1 per cent.

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Valentina Romei

Investment in Europe, both public and private, dropped dramatically following the international financial crisis, and in its aftermath growth has been weak in some countries and non-existent in others. The lack of investment growth is particularly worrying in peripheral countries where it hampers the chances of future economic and productivity growth, as well as limiting employment expansion.

Just how steep was the drop?  Read more

Small and midsized UK businesses remain concerned about the economy, according to the Future of Business Survey, a new measure of business sentiment from Facebook, the World Bank and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

The trio surveyed 90,000 small and medium-sized companies across 22 countries using the world’s largest social network. Read more

Valentina Romei

On Wednesday, Greek prime minister Alexis Tsipras told Reuters that the country could beat expectations and report an expansion in 2016.

The consensus among economists is that the Greek economy will expand in 2017, and in their latest Economic Outlook the OECD also stated that “growth is projected to turn positive in the second half of 2016”. Positive trends are already visible, yet it might be too soon to call this the beginning of a recovery. Read more

A recent earthquake reduced large parts of central Italy to a pile of rubble and killed almost 270 people. Though shallow, the tremor was felt in buildings as far as Rome and Florence. At 6.2 magnitude, it was the second strongest in 35 years on the peninsula.

Italy’s position close to the boundary of two tectonic plates makes it more prone to devastating quakes than any other European country. Not only do barely perceptible minor tremors occur frequently, but Italy has regularly suffered from major quakes that take lives. Here, we look at how the death toll from earthquakes in Italy compare to other Southern European regions over the last century.

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Valentina Romei

Italy’s unemployment rate rose to 11.6 per cent in June. Although this is a marginal rise, it is worrying for a country that is struggling to recover after multiple recessions and weak growth.

Yet there are reasons to remain optimistic. Read more

John Burn-Murdoch

Stage 9 of the 2016 Tour de France shows Team Sky’s tactics at their clinical best. Sky’s star-studded support group of five mountain specialists ruthlessly drove the pace of the peloton, sacrificing themselves one by one as they shed riders from the back of the group until team leader Chris Froome was able to go clear with only a handful of othersGoing in to the race, Froome’s imperial guard of Mikel Landa, Mikel Nieve, Wout Poels, Sergio Henao and Geraint Thomas had four mountain stage wins and seven top-ten general classification finishes in grand tours, as well as more than a dozen other victories in road cycling’s second tier of races. In almost any other team, any of these riders would be a team leader. Read more

Bad debt has piled up for years, notably in the construction sector Read more

Valentina Romei

House prices in the EU rose at an annual rate of four per cent in the first quarter of this year, but with big variations. The UK persistently shows strong price rises, while the trend was flat in France and house prices continue to shrink in Italy.

John Burn-Murdoch

English football must stop outsourcing creativity. The most prolific assisters in the recent history of the Premier League all come from overseas. As a result, England struggle to break down organised defences in international tournamentsEnglish football has always loved its powerful forwards, hard-running fullbacks and no-nonsense centre-backs. Even a quick-footed winger or tricky attacking midfielder can get an English crowd on its feet.

But one role has yet to be embraced in the same way by a bulk of English football fans: that of the playmaker, often found — God forbid — moving the ball sideways or backwards, but capable of dissecting a defence with a pinpoint pass, releasing an onrushing teammate into space that moments earlier was nonexistent.

The Premier League has had countless examples of genius playmakers: Mesut Özil, David Silva, Cesc Fabregas at his peak to name just three of the most recent. But English names are conspicuous by their absence. Read more

John Burn-Murdoch

Women are closing the gap on men in tennis prize money, with some now out-earning their counterparts. At almost every rung on the earnings ladder, the prize money gap is shrinking. The one exception is at the very top, where Novak Djokovic is so dominant that he pockets an outsized share of the ATP prize pot, putting him well ahead of Serena Williams, the top-earning women’s player so far in 2016The winners of the women’s and men’s singles tournaments at Wimbledon this year each receive £2m, making this the tenth successive year of equal prize money for the champions of each sex.

But although it might look like women’s and men’s tennis players now compete on a level financial playing field, true parity is still a long way off. In 2015 the top 100 men — as ranked by prize money — earned a total of $124.7m from singles tournaments, compared to $94.7m across the top 100 women.

So why the disparity? Read more

John Burn-Murdoch

Projected results of future EU referendums, based on modelled population and age-structure. A Remain victory becomes probable in 2021

A week on from Britain’s historic vote to leave the EU, some of the most frequently asked questions have concerned turnout levels across different age groups.

Early cries that the young had been betrayed by older voters were countered with claims that it’s young people’s own fault for not voting in sufficient numbers. Some have asked how the UK’s age-structure itself impacted the vote: is the population so top-heavy in age-terms that the odds were always stacked against the younger generation? And then there is the question of whether David Cameron missed a trick in not giving the vote to 16- and 17-year-olds, who would have been expected to lean heavily towards Remain.

We have dug into the best available figures on turnout by age from the EU referendum, and combined them with various public datasets which allows us to answer these questions with the benefit of historical context, or even a glimpse into the future. Here’s what we found. Read more

Valentina Romei

Professor Kenneth Rogoff says that the UK vote to leave the EU was a “Russian roulette for republics”, with an ‘absurdly low bar for exit, requiring only a simple majority’, with no supermajority, second referendum or parliamentary confirmation vote required.

Many voters did not have had a clear idea of what they were voting for or of its consequences, and many now seem to regret it. But the results did confirm the existence of a diffuse anger among the UK population. Read more

John Burn-Murdoch

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The chain of events that led to Brexit will be examined in great detail — and much anguish on the Remain side — for years to come. Rapid changes in the UK’s political climate undoubtedly played a part, and global events including the Great Recession and recent European migrant crisis have left their mark.

But for now we can focus on what we know in the immediate aftermath of the vote: the distinguishing characteristics of the areas of Britain that voted for either side. Read more

John Burn-Murdoch

Polling has dominated coverage of the UK’s EU referendum for the last month, with the focus shifting between the polls’ reliability following their 2015 misfire, the methodological challenges pollsters face, and the Remain vs Leave race itselfRead more

John Burn-Murdoch

Remain led by several points in late 2015, but saw its lead eroded at first gradually, and then quickly as 2016 wore on, before Leave went ahead over the last weekThe way our model calculates the average from the remaining five polls in its basket after outliers are removed is completely unchanged, but the polls in that basket should be more representative of where the ‘true’ opinion of the electorate lies.

After this change, our poll-of-polls has Leave on 45, two points ahead of Remain. Read more

John Burn-Murdoch

Spain lead the Financial Times' predictions for Euro 2016, just ahead of Germany and then hosts FranceThe European Football Championships are upon us, and with them an eclectic mix of prediction models from media organisations, financial institutions and independent statisticians. To assuage our FOMO (fear of missing out, for the non-Millennials), the FT has joined in with one of our own.

Spain are favourites to lift the trophy, narrowly ahead of Germany and hosts France, based on our method which uses Champions League appearances and players’ market values to determine each team’s strength. This trio of teams comes in well ahead of the other 21 countries taking part.

Read on for details of the model and how it compares to the betting markets. Read more

John Burn-Murdoch

Two weeks out from from Britain’s historic EU referendum, opinion polls are dominating the debate. The question is: are they adding or removing clarity about the eventual outcome?

Today we published an overview of some of the challenges facing pollsters as they look to demonstrate that the 2015 general election mis-fire was a one-off. What follows here is a look at how some of these issues are affecting our own poll-of-polls — and how we might deal with them — as well as an exploration of some of the alternatives to pure polling when it comes to forecasting the result on June 23. Read more

London’s population overtook New York’s in 2014 and last year surpassed its pre-World War II peak for the first time ever. Yet there are increasingly news stories about how the UK’s capital is becoming a place where people work but don’t live, or how sharply rising house prices are forcing out the poor, the young or those with families.

What is actually happening? How to square the anecdotal evidence with the fact that London adds as many people as the entire city of Bath (>100,000) to its population every single year?

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John Burn-Murdoch

Earlier this month Londoners voted in Sadiq Khan as mayor. The Labour candidate won 59 per cent of the vote and in so doing became the first Muslim mayor of a major European capital. But beyond the top-line figures, what do we know about how the election was won, and who voted for whom?

To answer these questions, we downloaded 140 datasets from the 2011 census, describing the demographic and socioeconomic composition of each of London’s 570 electoral wards: the same units over which the mayoral election vote was tallied. Read more