US jobless rate increases
According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the unemployment rate is now 9.7% (over 14.9 million
people) as of the end of
August, the highest since 1983 – and it is thought likely the number
of unemployed will continue to grow through the remainder of 2009. These figures once more raise the question of whether we are in a 'V' shaped recession – or a 'W' shaped one and that the so-called green shoots of recovery we are seeing in the UK are merely a 'dead cat bounce'.
It was also interesting to hear the debate at last month's ILTA conference over what will be the new 'norm'. When the economy recovers, will markets, prices and business recover to their pre-recession levels before continuing their upward trend – or were the last few years a freak hire fuelled by crazy City money and property speculation that will come to be seen as an historical anomally and that the new norm will turn out to be a lower figure, say on 2002/2003 trading levels. (In which case its going to be time for a lot of VCs and PEs to get out their brown trousers.)