Sunday, March 02, 2008

Go-Stop Government

I was delving around in the ONS website when I came across this rather striking chart. It shows quarterly changes in public sector employment.

Now, can you see how the public sector hired people in droves up to 2005 Q2 and then suddenly flipped on a sixpence? Before then, 20, 30, even 40,000 people were being hired virtually every single quarter. Whereas now, job cuts are the norm- just last week the dysfunctional floundering DWP was forced to announce another 12,000.

Isn't that extraordinary. You'd almost think something really really important must have happened in 2005 Q2.


What we have here is a classic stop-go expenditure cycle driven by short-term electoral calculation. It was a wasteful and corrosive way to run our public services back in the fifties and sixties, and it remains just as bad today.

PS Talking of great cycling charts, try this one, via the compulsive It shows the life-cycle of a speculative bubble (original source: Jean-Paul Rodrigue - Hofstra University):

And here's the same site's chart of real (ie RPI adjusted) house prices:

Notice any similarities? Remembering of course that the housing market has been a key driver of the Brown, ahem, economic miracle.

If you're thinking of selling, you might want to get on with it.

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