The economy is much more fragile than some seem to think
This morning’s growth figures from the Office of National Statistics show a 4% GDP drop for the third quarter of 2009. This means we are now in the longest recession in modern economic history. Even the co-ordinated world-wide stimulus has not been able to halt the damage done by the financial crash.
Even if we had achieved a technical recovery today, it would not feel like a recovery to the thousands losing their jobs or afraid that they will join the dole queue in the months ahead when unemployment will continue rising. It takes more than a statistical read out and the return of big bank bonuses for a real recovery.
These worse than expected figures should head off the growing signs of complacency. The economy is still extremely fragile. Any halt in economic stimulus – or even worse, cuts in spending in a premature effort to close the deficit – could easily send us into another downwards spiral.
Politicians cannot now say that the recession is over, so we can go back to treating the unemployed as work-shy scroungers rather than victims of the financial crash. Fighting unemployment – particularly among the young – has to be national priority number one.