Nye Cominetti

Two and a half reasons to be cheerful about our strong and stable labour market

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Today’s labour market statistics were, to use a technical term, boring. In a world of high political and economic drama, our labour market has served up headline measures of real pay growth and employment which basically haven’t changed for four months in a row. We shouldn’t bemoan unchanging numbers. Like air travel and digging tunnels, … Continued

Torsten Bell

Time to concentrate on our capitalism

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Our politicians are anxious. And not just because no-one has a decent poll lead or idea where Brexit will end up. No, some are finding the time to get anxious about other things too, including the state of capitalism in the UK. The angst isn’t limited to the left either, with Michael Gove becoming a … Continued

Poor productivity and high housing costs are driving a ‘living standards exodus’ from London

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As a Londoner it’s fair to say that as a city we’re quite good at giving ourselves a pat on the back (though apparently self-loathing Londoners are a thing too). It’s often suggested that London is an economic powerhouse, productive, innovative and leaving the rest of the country in its wake. However new research by … Continued

Introducing….Hamilton – The Industrial Strategy

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Today’s science speech by the Prime Minister shows how much she has in common with the great Alexander Hamilton – though she has not got her own musical yet. Hamilton’s great rival Jefferson had a picture of America as sturdy yeoman farmers enjoying their liberties under a minimalist Government. Hamilton instead saw the Federal Government … Continued

Britain’s labour market – the good (jobs), the bad (pay) and the ugly (productivity)

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This month’s labour market statistics gave us a classic mixed bag of results, with reasons to be cheerful on jobs, confused on pay, and downright depressed when it comes to Britain’s productivity record. Let’s start with the good news on jobs. Employment has hit another new high, with recent growth driven by full-time work – … Continued

Britain passes a major milestone on pay and breaks new ground on jobs – but there’s a productivity sting

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This morning UK labour market passed a few living standards milestones on pay and jobs with two good pieces of news, one expected and one a surprise. We also got a hint of more good news to come. But we also got one bit of bad news. Let’s start with the good. Today pay growth … Continued

‘The rise of the robots’ and ‘productivity pessimism’ can’t both be right

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Talk of looming automation, AI and robots is pervasive in public policy chat – including in the government’s new industrial strategy. Almost as common are projections that the weak growth of the past decade is here to stay – including in the latest official economic outlook. Sometimes these assumptions are even mentioned in the same … Continued

Britain’s skills record has hindered, not helped, our productivity drive. That needs to change

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Over the last week, we’ve heard a lot about the need to boost Britain’s productivity and how education and training can support that drive. First we had welcome new funding commitments in the Budget, then a strong skills focus in the Industrial Strategy White Paper and today we have a Skills Summit. Throughout, the Government … Continued

Matthew Whittaker

Hammond’s goal in this Budget should be to restart the productivity engine

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As a nation, we’re working smarter than we used to. A decade ago, for every hour we worked, we produced about £31.30 of stuff; today each hour of graft generates £31.85 of output. That sounds like good news. If we’re becoming more productive we should be able to treat ourselves to a pay rise, or … Continued

Matthew Whittaker

The living standards cost of the OBR’s newfound productivity pessimism

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Rumours of attempts within the Cabinet to remove Philip Hammond may or may not be wide of the mark. But given the recent steady flow of disappointing economic data, the Chancellor could be forgiven for wanting to walk before he’s pushed. Last week’s PMI data and today’s short-term indicators from the ONS both suggested that … Continued

Taking stock of our industrial strategy

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Recent electoral surprises, particularly the referendum last summer and last month’s general election, have been described as reactions against the economic status quo. The shocks have been greeted by politician promising no more business as usual. Theresa May has said that her government will create “a country in which prosperity and opportunity are shared right … Continued

Torsten Bell

Morrisons matters: we need an industrial strategy for pay packets

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Like excessively floral play suits, industrial strategy has made a comeback from that strange land we call the 1970s. It’s all the rage. The government has named a department after it. Jeremy Corbyn is so keen to set that strategy free of European rules and regulations, he wants to leave the single market over it. … Continued

Can a new generation of political leaders tackle Britain’s regional inequalities?

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2017 will see the UK begin its departure from the European Union. However, as the UK seeks to shed some politicians in Brussels, we will be getting some new ones at home. Greater Manchester, Liverpool, Tees, West Midlands, Bristol and Bath, and Cambridgeshire and Peterborough will all go to the polls to elect mayors and … Continued

The future of devolution is in the hands of half a dozen ‘first generation Metro Mayors’

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In less than 200 days some of Britain’s largest city regions will go to the polls to elect ‘Metro Mayors’. Unlike many other mayors across England, they will wield new powers that affect large areas and populations. Whether or not Metro Mayors are a success will depend on whether this first generation of new civic … Continued

Torsten Bell

First impressions matter for England’s first generation of Metro Mayors

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  First impressions matter – not just in job interviews or blind dates, but for England’s first generation of Metro Mayors too. Resting on the shoulders of the half dozen elected mayors next May in the likes of Greater Manchester, the West Midlands and Sheffield city region is not only their own careers, but the … Continued

Robots will enrich not replace us

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The robots are coming to take our jobs. So says Martin Ford in The Rise of the Robots, the FT/McKinsey business book of the year. Andy Haldane, chief economist of the Bank of England, last week warned that 15m jobs in Britain were at risk from automation. Is artificial intelligence about to take over? I am not so sure. Innovation is always … Continued

Productivity as much as politics will determine the scale of cuts and tax rises in the next parliament

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The scale of fiscal consolidation in the next parliament will depend largely on future productivity growth. Assuming the parties maintained their fiscal targets regardless of the underlying economic circumstances, a future Conservative government would be in the position of tightening less under a strong productivity scenario than is implied by existing Labour plans. Equally, a … Continued

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