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Economy in Brief

EU: Growth So Slow, You’d Hardly Know…
by Robert Brusca March 31, 2010

It is not so unusual for the rate of unemployment to rise early in an expansion, but this expansion has been in train for a while and the rise in the rate is a bit chilling. Taking some of the sting out of this event may be the German rate which has already been announced for March since that rate is moving lower. Still the February result for the Zone is just the sort of backsliding the EU Commission and the ECB do not want to see. Spain remains major problem.

What’s worse is that this figure is reports as the EMU inflation rate has taken a turn for the worse and is up by 1.5% Yr/Yr. Granted energy is the driving force there but given the ECB’s hyper-sensitivity to inflation and its focus on the headline rate, that inflation report was not good news.

Around the world a number of reports today showed some backsliding ranging from a reported slip in consumer confidence in the UK, poor wage data featuring sharply cut mid-year bonus payments in Japan and weak housing and retail reports from Australia. This is not enough to put at question the ongoing global recovery, but it is a bit deflating at a time that we are looking at growth ever so closely and trying to get a sustainable recovery going. Rising inflation, even if from oil prices, makes the situation even worse since everyone uses energy and faces this challenge.

Unemployment Rate And Changes
    Rate Level Simple Changes
  Feb-10 Jan-10 Dec-09 3-Mo 6-Mo 12-Mo
     EU-Urate 9.6 9.5 9.4 0.2 0.4 1.3
     EMU-Urate 10.0 9.9 9.9 0.1 0.4 1.2
   Unemployment rate and changes M/M% Changes (ar)
     EU-U 000s 0.6% 0.9% 0.5% 2.0% 4.3% 15.8%
     EMU-U 000s 0.4% 0.7% 0.3% 1.4% 3.4% 13.3%
   U-Rates Level Simple Changes
     Germany 7.5 7.5 7.5 0 -0.1 0.2
     France 10.1 10 10 0.1 0.4 1.2
     Spain 19 18.9 18.9 0 0.3 2.3
     USA 9.7 9.7 10 -0.3 0 1.5
     Japan 4.9 4.9 5.2 -0.4 -0.5 0.5
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