According to the forward guidance issued by the Bank of England, Bank Rate will stay at 0.5%, barring serious unforeseen circumstances, until unemployment reaches 7%. So will this be soon?
There are good reasons to suggest that the answer is no. Reasons include the following:
(a) Many firms may choose to employ their part-time workers for more hours, rather than taking on extra staff, if the economy picks up.
(b) The recovery is being fuelled by a rise in consumption, which, in turn, is being financed by people drawing on savings or borrowing more. The household saving ratio fell from 7.4% in 2012 Q1 to 4.2% in 2013 Q1. This trend will be unsustainable over the long run, especially as the Bank of England may see a rapid rise in borrowing/decline in saving as serious enough to raise interest rates before the unemployment rate has fallen to 7%.
(c) Despite the modest recovery, people’s average real incomes are well below the levels prior to the deep recession of 2008/9.
The articles consider the outlook for the economy and unemployment
UK unemployment holds steady at 7.8pc The Telegraph, Rebecca Clancy (14/8/13)
Unemployment rate is unlikely to fall sharply The Guardian, Larry Elliott (14/8/13)
UK unemployment falls by 4,000 to 2.51 million BBC News (14/8/13)
UK wages decline among worst in Europe BBC News (11/8/13)
Squeezing the hourglass The Economist (10/8/13)
More people in work than ever before as unemployment falls Channel 4 News, Faisal Islam (14/8/13)
- What factors determine the rate of unemployment?
- With reference to the ONS data in Labour Market Statistics, August 2013 above, what has happened to (a) the long-term unemployment rate; (b) the unemployment rate for 18–24 year olds?
- How would you define ‘living standards’?
- How is labour productivity relevant to the question of whether unemployment is likely to fall?
- How much have living standards fallen since 2008?
- Under what circumstances might the Bank of England raise interest rates before the rate of unemployment has fallen to 7%?
- Property prices are beginning to rise. Consider the effects of this and whether, on balance, a rise in property prices is beneficial.