The Daily Telegraph, 14 January, Roger Bootle
The coming week promises to be full of interest and excitement for all those people who keep a close eye on the economic data, not least as a guide to interest rate prospects and asset prices. By the end of it, we may have a clearer picture about where the economy is heading.
On Tuesday, we will see the latest labour market data and this may help to clear up a bit of a muddle. In October, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) suspended its long-serving labour market indicator, the Labour Force Survey.
Unfortunately, the survey response rate had dropped dramatically and this made the ONS fear that its results were no longer reliable. (Lest you should think that this is another example of basket case Britain, a similar phenomenon has been observed in many other countries, including the US, although not quite to the same degree.)
In its stead, for the four months to October, the ONS published limited and experimental data. But we had no idea whether this other measure was reliable or how it ties in with the picture given by the old survey.
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