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Following the theme in Jonny Clarke's blog Does it matter if we are in a recession, there was some positive news of hopeful signs in some sectors of the economy in this week's Deloitte Monday Briefing. Ian Stewart, Chief Economist at Deloitte, reported on the unbalanced picture across the economy. On one hand there is 'extreme' weakness in the high-productivity sectors of North Sea oil and financial services, where output has fallen by an average of 5.4% a year. These two key sectors represent about 14% of the economy and so their weakness has a significant effect on GDP - if they are stripped out of GDP figures, the rest of the economy would have grown by approximately 2% a year in the meantime, a figure which is close to the long-run trend.
On the other hand, the category of Business Services, which accounts for about 12% of GDP, has grown by an average of 4.8% a year. This sector includes computing, research, legal services, accounting, management consultancy, architecture, engineering and advertising. Health and social work, catering and hotels and manufacturing have also grown well above the average figure.
Even in the oil sector the news is not all gloom, as Ian Stewart expects the recent high oil price and new tax concessions to lead to a new spike in UK oil production. And in the banking sector, despite the tougher regulatory landscape, some pockets such as insurance, fund management, securities dealing and commodities have been less badly hit than other parts of the industry, so he expects, if not recovery, at least performance which is less bad than in the last few years.
The Deloitte Monday Briefing is a fantastic, free resource for students and teachers - you can subscribe to it here.
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