Could someone give me a dictionary…

…because a lot of this economic forecasting is giving me a headache.
It goes like this. Alistair Darling’s forecast for this year was for 1.7 per cent or so growth in the …

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9th April 2008 at 3:24 pm

…because a lot of this economic forecasting is giving me a headache.

It goes like this. Alistair Darling’s forecast for this year was for 1.7 per cent or so growth in the economy. It seems not everyone agrees with him and the actual figure is likely to be 1.5 per cent.

More seriously for Darling, the figure next year is also likely to be under two per cent when he’s been predicting a figure over it. And this could be an election year.

My question is really quite simple. What do people understand by the word ‘growth’? OK, we’re not growing as quickly as hoped and yes, the American economy is having its effect – as someone whose mortgage is likely to increase twice in one month if reports are to be believed, I’m going to become all too well acquainted with the idea.

But it’s still growth, isn’t it? Nobody – repeat nobody – is saying there’s going to be less money (although less on credit, which is probably no bad thing), more unemployment, more inflation. Check the dictionary. Growth is growth. And yet confidence is suffering, simply because virtually the longest sustained spurt of economic growth in living memory is coming to its natural end.

There needs to be a correction, certainly, and we all need to pay back our borrowings – as a nation and as individuals, to set things straight. I just don’t see us as doomed, that’s all.

Guy Clapperton

Guy Clapperton is a freelance journalist who specialises in small business issues and has written for the likes of The Guardian, the FT and the Daily Mirror. Guy has written about finance and franchising for SmallBizPod. http://www.guyclapperton.co.uk

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