Thursday 18 January 2018

Predicting economic outcome is an intriguing game of perpetual motion

Brendan Keenan

Brendan Keenan

WHEN you have excluded the impossible, observed Sherlock Holmes (the old one, that is), whatever remains, however unlikely, must be the truth.

The mystery of the growth in employment is one worthy of the great detective. Nothing could have been more unlikely than the recovery being led by jobs. Unemployment, said the economics textbooks, is a "lagging indicator", meaning it is one of the last things to improve when an economy starts growing after recession.

Once again, the textbooks are being torn up. Last week, I found myself at an address by Tim Harford, author of the runaway best-seller 'The Undercover Economist', a book that put the price of a cappuccino at the heart of micro-economics.

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