So much for the “plan” – it’s delivered the slowest recovery in economic history

Posted on

To those who do not read the Touchstone blog from the TUC I warmly recommend it. This fascinating insight was on there yesterday, written by Geoff Tily, an outstanding Keynsian economist who is now head of economics at the TUC:

A second look at historic GDP data shows the current ‘recovery’ is the slowest on record (which extend back to 1830), rather than the slowest recovery in modern history, as we reported yesterday. This chart shows index numbers of recoveries in GDP from the bottom of each recession to five years later. The current ‘recovery’ is in black: it falls short of all historic recoveries by a very long margin.

Recoveries from recessions from the 1830s to today


The figures are based on the Bank of England’s historic database (up to and including the recovery from 1947); ONS National Accounts are used for the rest, with data for the latest ‘recovery’ now extending to 2014 for the first time, following yesterday’s GDP release. (To keep it tidy, I have defined a recession as two consecutive annual falls in GDP.)

These figures show growth of 8.8% over the five years since 2009, the low point of the latest recession. The average growth over the five years for all other recessions was 16.1%, nearly double today’s effort. On this basis we are even underperforming the disastrous economic age that followed the First World War and the Geddes Axe spending cuts.

So much for "we have a plan and we're sticking to it". That would seem like an act of considerable folly in the light of the evidence.

Disclosure: I do work for the TUC on occasions, and right now is one such occasion.