Wednesday, May 25, 2011

King is a Joker.

Interest rates must be raised this year, OECD warns

The west's leading economic thinktank warned the Bank of England on Wednesday that it would have to start raising interest rates this year to prevent inflation taking hold in the UK. In a downbeat assessment of the prospects for the economy, the Paris-based OECD said Threadneedle Street would have to steadily increase borrowing costs over the next 18 months despite the weakness of growth. And it said a full-break up of Britain's banks should remain an option even though the Independent Commission on Banking set up by the coalition has so far backed only more limited reform of the financial system.

Posted by sibley's b'stard child @ 10:11 AM (3611 views)
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55 thoughts on “King is a Joker.

  • George ‘rates lower for longer’ Osborne says No!

    There’s too much debt to increase rates and the BoE know that all too well, plus it would start the housing market heading down again, although the talk of rising rates seems to be doing the trick just fine.

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  • The BOE will almost certainly increase the base rate this year and the rate will probably trend up for quite some time.

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  • 2. flashman

    Agreed. (rare moment) Putting up rates then U turning will be a seriously bad move.

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  • orcusmaximus says:

    “The sluggishness of the economy will feed through into higher unemployment, which the OECD expects to rise from 7.9% of the workforce in 2010 to 8.1% this year and 8.3% in 2012”

    How close does this take us to your unemployment tipping point Flash?

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  • The MPC could raise rates and let the “blame” fall on the OECD.

    It seems part and parcel of life that Politicians and public servants “appease” the griping population instead of doing what 95% of people know is right. Its all in the name of looking good and getting re-elected. The MPC has forgotten savers and instilling prudence into a growing generation – its been noted before on this site by more eloquent people.

    Sad, really.

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  • orcus: UK unemployment would have to reach 9.2 % to trigger the theoretical tipping point.

    It has to be said that the UK unemployment numbers have stubbornly defied almost every forecast for the past 3 years (including those of the OECD). The latest figures even showed a slight decrease in unemployment and an increase in employment

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  • Flash – would love to know how you came up with the figure of 9.2%. Is it based purely on what has happened before? I think the market is significantly different now than at any time previously, mainly because of the significant volumes of people who own multiple houses, whether thats BTL or weekend getaways. (How) Did you factor that in?

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  • The BOE will almost certainly increase the base rate this year and the rate will probably trend up for quite some time.

    Yes, but not enough to have any serious impact.

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  • timmy: I did not try to second-guess the data with any allowances, other than for population increases. In the case of BTLs, if unemployment seriously picks up, then significant numbers of tenants will not be able to pay their rent, which will ultimately have the same effect on house prices as people not being able to pay their mortgages (because if a tenant doesn’t pay his rent then the landlord will not be able to pay his mortgage and if the landlord doesn’t have a mortgage then his return on investment will still suffer which consequently reduces the value of his investment). In the case of second homes, even some of the better off will lose their jobs in times of very high unemployment and some of their holiday houses will consequently be dumped into a falling market. A secondary effect of very high unemployment is that even those with a job tend to lose their nerve for making extravagant purchases, which reduces the demand for things like the few holiday homes that will suddenly find their way onto the market. The fall in real wages that usually accompanies very high unemployment also does its bit by impacting peoples ability to pay pre recession levels of mortgage and rent. If people physically can’t pay for something, then prices tend to come down to a level that they can pay.

    Incidentally, I was initially looking for positive correlations between house prices and interest rates but I found nothing useful. I decided that this was probably because interest rates can increase in both good times and bad. Interest rates can obviously have a big impact on house prices but if they increase in a boom, then real wages will probably also be rising which helps people to afford their rising mortgage and rent payments. On the other hand, if interest rates rise while real wages are stagnant or falling, then house prices will surely fall

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  • I don’t put much faith in the unemployment figures. More and more inventive ways of massaging the figures keep appearing to the point where you don’t know what to believe. Actually I know what not to believe, the number of ‘actual’ unemployed. There’s all sorts of benefits, schemes and no benefits which allow countless numbers to not appear in the actual statistics.

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  • wiltshire: Your comment (or similar) has been made by many people over the course of the last 50 years or so. I do not remember a time when people haven’t been outraged by what they perceive to be fudged unemployment numbers. Fudging doesn’t really matter as long as the fudging is consistent because if it is relatively consistent, then we can still reliably use the numbers for comparative purposes.

    The truth is that our unemployment numbers are arguably more reliable now than they have ever been. The ONS has increasingly complied with the ILO (International Labour Organisation) methodology, which helps us to make more reliable cross border comparisons

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  • Re Wiltshire’s comment – I’ve said this a hundred times on here but I’ll say it again… Why don’t they publish a number every month which shows total earned income for the month. That must be a simple number to come up with for HMRC. Seeing how that number goes up or down would be interesting to compare with the employment data, and from an HPC perspective would be very relevant.

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  • mark wadsworth says:

    We can look for all the correlations we want – unemployment, interest rates, gross mortgage lending, number of young people hitting first time buyer age, new constructions – and we’ll find that either the rules no longer apply (highly unlikely); that house prices are in fact a fair reflection of true value and we not at the stage of a bubble bursting (also highly unlikely) or…

    … we accept that by hook or by crook, all these schemes invented by Labour and continued by the Lib-Cons (massive bank bail outs, mortgage interest support, stop on repo’s, low new construction, very low interest rates, reductions in council tax, high housing benefit, no rent controls in private sector, shared ownership schemes, this ridiculous new plan to give people £10,000 if they buy a rare new build, etc etc, in some respects the Lib-Cons are not as bad as Labour, in others they are worse) have actually succeeded in achieving exactly what they were meant to achieve (at unfathomable cost to the real economy).

    Question is, how long can they keep the bubble inflated? Are prices actually falling?

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  • timmy: The ONS publishes the “Average Weekly Earnings”. It used to be called something else but its always been there

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  • If only everybody was in the pyramid scheme, we might survive hyperinflation and ever increasing property prices, but that would be

    impossible. Think about it. It’s all down to a controlled crash now, if they can c

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  • Flash – average weekly earnings are useless if only one person in 60 million is working – we need TOTAL earnings.

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  • mark wadsworth says:

    TT, HMRC compile figures for total tax receipts every month, if you can track one down showing the split into PAYE (as a proxy for total wages) or VAT (total output of VATable sector, about half the economy), well there’s your answer. I’ve tried tracking it down for five minutes and failed but I’m sure it’s out there somewhere.

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  • Flashman, I don’t disagree with your points but I think there are probably increasing cracks through which people are falling and increasing eagerness to ensure people fall through those cracks. I pinched (most of) the list below from another site. Although these issues will have always been there I feel the numbers for each issue are probably more acute now than previously:

    those who are not claiming any state benefits?
    those who have savings so cannot claim benefits?
    those who have gone back to live at home with parents?
    those who have taken a work experience placement?
    those who have gone back into education at Uni/College?
    those who are claiming incapacity benefit?
    those who are claiming other ‘camouflaging’ benefits?

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  • timmy t: Average earnings are far from useless for your purposes. If you know the average earnings (openly published) and you know the number of people in employment (also openly published), then you know the TOTAL earnings.

    wiltshire: Like I say, people from each generation intuitively make those sort of claims (most of your list could easily have come from the 70s or 80s) but the fact is that the ILO metrics say that our figures are as or more accurate than ever

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  • Flash, whilst I agree with your maths, trying to analyse the data, making sure you use the right numbers for the various definitions and time periods that exist, would add 1 to the employment number because it would be a full time job. I don’t see why the ONS can’t just say each month “Total earned income in April 2011 was £xxxxx” We seem to be able to do it for house prices, but I guess most people think that the value of their house is more important than the state of the economy.

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  • timmy: If you like, I’ll do it for you free of charge, on the first day of every month. All I’ve got to do is multiply one number by another. The two published figures I’ve given use an specific methodology so you don’t have to worry about periods and other complications. Just plot the result each month and you’ll see the trend with negligible time lags. The exact specification of each number doesn’t matter because it’s the relationship between the numbers that matters and that will be a constant

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  • mark wadsworth says:

    Timmy T, here we go – monthly receipts for most of the different taxes from HM Revenue & Customs website.

    I agree, it’s not as good as “gross wages paid” but it’ll do for now. So maybe the NICs column is the best one to use – remember to adjust the April 2011 figure down for the fact that the total rate went up from 23.8% to 25.8% (Employee’s plus Employer’s) in that month, I can’t be bothered working out the impact of slightly higher thresholds this year (the upper limit went up as well)

    So we have April 08 – £9,179 billion
    April 09 – £8,842 billion
    April 10 – £9,293 billion
    April 11 – £10,003 billion, scaled down by 23.8/25.8 = £9,228 billion.

    Then if you want to be really clever, scale those down by (say) 3%* price inflation every year to express them in constant 2008 price equivalents gives you:

    April 08 – £9,179 bn
    April 09 – £8,576 bn
    April 10 – £8,735 bn
    April 11 – £8,397 bn

    “Flat lining since April 09” seems like a fair – but of course entirely subjective and personal summary.

    * before I get shouted at – this is not a scientific or exact rate, it is for illustration purposes only 🙂

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  • Flash – I don’t see much point in arguing the toss. I agree that its the trend not the actual that is important but if you look at how they calculate average weekly earnings there are a whole host of reasons why I would rather just add up the numbers in column D or whatever it is, in the HMRC spreadsheet that MW found. About a gazillion times more accurate. My point, and it’s quite simple, is that total earnings is a known figure and should be published, rather than multiplying together 2 numbers which are found by surveying a few companies.

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  • And thank you Mark – excellent work – go straight to the top of the Mark Wadsworth and Flashman class.

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  • “rather than multiplying together 2 numbers, which are found by surveying a few company”

    Arguing what toss????? They are both produced and published by the ONS. It doesn’t get easier, more official, more accurate or more transparent than that. It is by far the simplest and most accurate way of calculating your total. You seem disappointed that it’s so easy?

    Marks way is convoluted, and not particularly accurate (as he will be the first to point out).

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  • mark wadsworth says:
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  • mark wadsworth says:

    Oops I forgot to close the tag.

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  • mark: give me a short series of numbers and I’ll produce a series for the same period. Have you tried reverse engineering your numbers to find the average earnings (use total number of employed)? If your number is accurate then it should closely tally with the ONS average earnings number. I’ll have a look on your blog later.

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  • mark: I had a look on your site. Average earnings growth has been running at more than 1 % below average CPI for almost the full span of your 3 year period while the the number of employed has remained static by comparison. The fall in real wages must therefore be higher than indicated by your smoothed chart. It’s more like a 3% fall than the 1% indicated by your chart

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  • mark wadsworth says:

    Flash, like it or not, National insurance receipts, adjusted for RPI inflation are down by about ten per cent over the last 36 months. That seems a very high fall to me, I would have guessed wages down five per cent in real terms (i.e. fall in average real wages per worker plus fall in number of employees or employees moving from full time to part time work), but what can’t speak can’t lie.

    I explained exactly how I calculated it and nowhere did I mention CPI, so I don’t see the relevance. It is of course quite possible that NIC receipts are a red herring, but I doubt it.

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  • NIC receipts must be a slight red herring because the actual number is nearer to 3%. I mentioned CPI because I have official published figures for those (in relation to earnings) and the indexes all correlate.

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  • mark wadsworth says:

    Flash, what chart, where, link?

    I could rework my NIC figures for CPI inflation, but there again, I’ve given you all the sources and you can do it yourself.

    Fag packet says a difference between CPI and RPI of 2% or so a year for three years is sufficient to explain the gap between my “about ten per cent down” and your “about three per cent down”, for example.

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  • Sack your fag packet. For slightly more than half of your three year period RPI was actually running at less than CPI and the gap was even bigger during that period than it was when CPI was running at less than RPI. The large discrepancy between your number and the official ONS number (adjusted for CPI) is therefore even larger than it appears.

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  • mark wadsworth says:

    OK, give me a link to your source, or go to the effort of multiplying two made up figures and then adjusting for shift from full time to part time etc.

    The key with statistics is that those which are collected inadvertently are far more telling than those collected with a view to ‘proving’ something. Thus simply measuring the thickness of the telephone book (in olden times) is a far better guide to how many people have a telephone than believing what BT tell you on the number of users.

    HMRC’s figures are bomb proof and represent real money. HMRC are not tasked with working out employment rates or average wages, therefore their figures, while only a rough guide are impartial and hence reliable.

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  • “Fag packet says a difference between CPI and RPI of 2% or so a year for three years is sufficient to explain the gap between my “about ten per cent down” and your “about three per cent down”, for example.”

    Did you miss the bit where I explained why that’s not true? Look up “RPI versus CPI” and you’ll find several simple charts that show why your above assumption is very wrong. You’re not measuring telephone books if you are making assumptions (some of them wrong).

    I’ve already told you that I got all my stuff from the Office for National Statistics. It’s all freely available and their site is well indexed. The ONS are world class data analysts with no agenda and nothing to prove. They use all available official data (including HMRC data). I’ll take their numbers over your fag packet any day

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  • mark wadsworth says:

    Yes, Flash, it has been observed often enough that you refuse to take my figures for anything, but you never appear to present any of your own.

    So, for the benefit of TT and me, can you please get round to multiplying the ASHE figures for full and part time average hourly wages with the ONS figures for full and part time employment, then tell us all the assumptions you made for how many hours worked per week and sick days or holidays per year and so on, and we’ll have a look.

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  • mark: I’ve already given you several numbers in this thread along with a very simple and reliable method of working out the required number, using readily available and super reliable ONS data.

    You offered up a convoluted method that produced a silly number (10% fall). When you saw that silly number you should have abandoned your experimental method instead of laboriously presenting and defending it. Freely available ONS charts and data clearly show earnings growth over your selected period. It is incredibly easy to add CPI or RPI to these numbers to give us the requested ‘real’ numbers. A simple glance at the ONS earnings chart would have shown you that your method was way off. However, instead of acknowledging your number as being silly you went on to compound your error by wrongly claiming that the difference between CPI and RPI would explain why your numbers did not remotely correspond to the world class, industrial grade ONS numbers. When I demonstrated exactly why you were wrong about the average difference between RPI and CPI (during your selected period), you chose to ignore that inconvenient fact and press on regardless, throwing in a few personal remarks for good measure. It’s all a unnecessarily.

    I have indeed demonstrated your ‘numbers’ as being wrong on several occasions in the past and on each occasion I have given you an alternative number (your 90% business reduction claim, total tax take and LVT replacement number, spring to mind). Your claim that I have never given you alternative numbers is therefore dishonest. In this case there was absolutely no need to make a meal of it. A simple glance at a freely published ONS chart would tell us what we need to know and that your number was wildly off. You tried to do something creative and it didn’t work out but it was definitely worth a crack. You even implicitly acknowledged that your number was way off in your next proposed calculation on your blog, so why all the fuss?

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  • mark wadsworth says:

    F, to repeat can you be “get round to multiplying the ASHE figures for full and part time average hourly wages with the ONS figures for full and part time employment, then tell us all the assumptions you made for how many hours worked per week and sick days or holidays per year and so on, and we’ll have a look.”?

    I cheerfully accept that a ten per cent real wage fall seems (but things are not always what they seem, sometimes a surprising number turns out to be true – like only 6% or 7% of the UK land by surface area being privately occupied land and buildings) on the high side, I never suggested that this was the beginning and end of the matter, so I look forward to seeing what you come up with.

    “you went on to compound your error by wrongly claiming that the difference between CPI and RPI would explain why your numbers”

    No, I said “could” not “would”, if CPI was indeed higher than RPI, it would not explain it – but if I used CPI, and it is indeed higher, for which we only have your word, then the apparent fall in real wages, using PAYE receipts as a PROXY (not as an absolute guide) would mean the fall was higher than ten per cent, which we appear to be agreed is even less likely. Had I baldly stated that real wages fell ten per cent without showing my workings then this would have been pretty pointless, I was merely trying to help out TImmy T.

    So really I’m not sure what your point is.

    My 90% business tax reduction was absolutely spot on to the penny – provided we take business tax to be the sum total of [PAYE, VAT, Business Rates, corporation tax]. If you think that the only tax borne by business is (say) [corporation tax + business rates] then the fall would be much smaller. I think you are confusing numerator and denominator here, not me. You could go further and argue that corporation tax and business rates are not borne by “business” either, in which case shifting to LVT (which you apparently to consider to be a tax on business) would of course be an increase.

    I regularly download the public sector finances databank, which shows all tax receipts, spending, borrowing etc and I know all this stuff better than most people, I do not pluck figures out of the air, and I always show my workings and provide links where relevant..

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  • “No, I said “could” not “would” ”

    Blair would be proud of you. You probably also claim that you’ve never inhaled a joint

    “but if I used CPI, and it is indeed higher, for which we only have your word”

    Are you joking? I am 100% certain that you looked it up after I made that comment. For everyone else’s benefit here’s a chart that conveniently covers the time (during mark’s chosen time span) when CPI was higher than RPI

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/economics/8135240/Inflation-CPI-v-RPI.html

    I’m not going to comment on LVT (ever again). I explained in detail, in a previous post, why your core numbers were wrong and gave more realistic numbers. You couldn’t refute them (and even agreed with some of them) at the time, so I’m not going to get dragged into the same old groundhog arguments. I noticed that you slightly modified some portions of your LVT stance (newly ‘heretical’) after one of my longer LVT posts, so fair play to you for pragmatism.

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  • “but if I used CPI, and it is indeed higher, for which we only have your word, then the apparent fall in real wages, using PAYE receipts as a PROXY (not as an absolute guide) would mean the fall was higher than ten per cent, which we appear to be agreed is even less likely”

    I forgot to answer the above. If you look at the chart, CPI was higher for roughly half the time and RPI was higher for roughly half the time. I’ve already explained this a few posts ago. The conclusion is that the two numbers roughly cancel each other (roughly equal over the selected period), so CPI would not make the difference in the numbers higher than 10% and we can not use the substitution of my CPI for your RPI to explain away the roughly 7% difference between the ONS numbers and your numbers. Real wages have fallen by about 3% in your selected period (In this rare instance, it doesn’t make much difference which inflation measure we use).

    On a less fraught issue you can see why they once panicked about deflation (the mid portion of the chart).

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  • Are we getting anywhere with this?
    Flash you say that multiplying the 2 together is easy, and of course it is, but thats not the point. I really don’t understand why the ONS employ teams of statisticians to survey thousands of companies, find out what they pay to how many people so these numbers can be seasonally adjusted, industry adjusted and whatever else, when clearly, everybody who works needs to tell HMRC what they earn, so those numbers can be totted up to produce the EXACT number. It seems to me that if HMRC have the number, why don’t they just report it. That method would be far far far simpler and be exact so I fail to understand the benefit of what the ONS does in this regard.

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  • timmy: You first asked me how I did my correlations and I comprehensively answered you. You did not show me the courtesy of acknowledging my answer. You then asked everyone a question about this total earnings number. I gave you a super simple and accurate way of working it out. Mark offered a convoluted and as it turned out, incorrect way of working it out. You then inexplicably claimed that the convoluted, opaque and incorrect method was a gazillion times more accurate! I have always been more than happy to explain and answer the many questions you have asked me over the last two years but I am not so sure I’ll do that in future. What mark did was noble and worth a crack. I have tried and failed to produce insight and answers from raw data on more occasions that I care to remember. It’s always worth a go but it’s a frustrating experience

    Regarding your question as to why can’t they just give out a straight total: You have to understand that smoothing, adjusting, phasing etc of the data is usually necessary to get a meaningful result from raw data. I’m sure that’s frustrating and counterintuitive to you but it’s just the way it is. Mark knows this more than anyone, which is why he applied some very sensible techniques to his data. It didn’t work because these things often take years of experimentation. The ONS have done all the necessary work to make sense of the data. They are world class and their numbers are often audited for accuracy and technique. That’s why all you need to do is multiply one of their numbers with another. You will struggle to get a better result anywhere. If you want them to do that, then send them an email. They are very helpful

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  • Flash – apologies if I didn’t acknowledge your first response – a belated thank you!
    Re the total earnings figure, this is getting dull. The figure already exists. Why don’t they publish it? That is my question and I still don’t know the answer. Why you think that adding up what everyone has earned in order to calculate total earnings is convoluted, opaque and incorrect baffles me (although I understand the need for the statisticians to do their adjustments with this number). I acknowledge you have been great at answering questions I have had many times and your responses have helped me understand things much better pretty much all of the time, and again for that I thank you. However this time I am none the wiser for any of your responses. If you choose not to engage with me again then based on the quality of response I normally get from you, that will be a loss for me. All I am saying is that on this little exchange, you haven’t helped me to understand.

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  • mark wadsworth says:

    TT, for your benefit and amusement, I’ve done the figures again based on average weekly earnings, Consumer Price Index and a very small fall in total employment over the period, the answer we get this time is a real total fall of just over five per cent, which may well be a fairer reflection that using National Insurance receipts.

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  • timmy: I understand your frustration. I will apply some thought to your specific question and I will get back to you (hopefully in a few minutes). You are one of the good guys on this blog, so I’m always delighted to engage.

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  • I think we can agree that incomes are flat to shrinking since 2008. Beyond that the argument is one of degree. Flash is a bullish chap so will prefer stats that give a positive spin, whereas those with more bearish disposition (eg me) will prefer their bias confirmed to the downside.

    In such circumstances cabbies are a reasonable arbiter and here in Glasgow the tales are of the worst consistent donwturn in trade in living memory. They say that things were actually better in 2009. Also there is it would seem no sign of things picking up.

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  • Thanks Flash… although it looks like we are reaching the conclusion that in order of accuracy we have:
    1. Statistically adjusted surveys
    2. Glaswegian cabbie sentiment
    3. HMRC Data
    Is it any wonder we are in such a mess?

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  • bellwether: In this instance I am just looking at dry data from someone elses selected time frame. I used very slightly different employment numbers than mark did in his new revised number because I used April 2011 (non ONS) as the end month, which also shifted out his March base month. Marks new figure (on his blog) are now not surprisingly very close to mine and there is nothing bullish about his result or mine. Real wages have fallen by slightly more than 3% over the selected period. That might not sound like much but it is significant in economic terms. Real wages have gone up in some regions which of course means that they must have severely fallen in other areas. The ONS also supply very good disposable income numbers which when combined with the fall real wages will increasingly look very bearish, particularly going forward. I’m sure cabbies in Glasgow are doing very badly but there are cabbies in central London who are doing just fine. That’s why I prefer to use national data but I do acknowledge that national data can smooth over some very real regional disaster stories

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  • timmy, you’re going to love this.

    The ONS work out the numbers in question, in exactly the same way that I suggested (see quote below)

    “Average earnings are obtained by dividing the total amount paid by the total number of employees paid”

    You will have noticed that in the middle of that sentence it says, ‘THE TOTAL AMOUNT PAID’. In other word they have the exact number you want. It exists.

    We therefore have two choices for getting obtaining this number (apologies for the first)

    1. Do the sum I suggested (it just reverses the above to get your number)

    2. Trawl through a report called the MWSS. The MWSS is the source of all their data for the weekly average earnings report. Your exact number is hidden in there. It’s pretty well hidden because I couldn’t find it after 15 minutes of looking…. but it’s definitely in there. If you asked them where it was in the MWSS, I’m sure they would tell you.

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  • Thanks Flash – I skimmed through that yesterday. Okay lets focus on this single point…. which of the following is better?
    1. Get the ONS to Survey 9000 companies about how much they paid to how many people, and from this estimate numbers for total and average earnings in the UK, or
    2. Go to HMRC and ask “How much was paid to how many people last month?” and get the exact amount of total earnings and the exact average?
    It strikes me that (1) employs a big team of people full-time to get what I am sure is a statistically justifiable result, and (2) is an office junior running an excel macro once a month to give THE answers in about 9 seconds while sipping coffee reading OK magazine.

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  • mark wadsworth says:

    Timmy, on an entirely nerdy point, HMRC seem to be shifting PAYE processing to online, i.e. employer just types in gross wages for period for each employee and the computer tells him how much to deduct in PAYE. So sooner or later, they’ll be able to produce this figure for you.

    See also: HM Land Registry have more than enough information to do computerised land valuations for every single residential plot (they know prices paid for last 11 years and plot sizes to within a tolerable degree of error – their maps are computerised and they have some cunning software that can work out plot sizes on the basis of lines on a map). Merge that with Valuation Office Agency info for Business Rates and the register for Council Tax bandings and we are up and running. Your proverbial office junior will be able to update valuations by running a macro every year while sipping coffee etc.

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  • mark: I’ve been trying to work out how you got to 5%. It’s because of your 1.2% employment adjustment. The AWE (average weekly earnings) gives us average earnings per JOB. You can’t therefore adjust it for a 1,2% fall in employment, for the purpose of working out a fall in real wages per job.

    timmy: The ONS/MWSS stuff contains data from HMRC. It’s not just a survey. However I understand what you’re saying regarding simplicity

    Unfortunately there are many factors that make the raw HMRS data unfit for your specific purpose. For example the self employed, sole traders and partnerships sometimes pay themselves sporadically and they often strategically deduct company expenses and stock markdowns etc. There are so many millions of workers in this category that the figures would make no sense on a month-by-month basis. Then there is the constant issue of underreporting of income, non-reporting of cash income, incorrectly categorised perks and pay slip errors. Then there is the issue of bonuses that frequently distort monthly trends in the figures. Then there is new legislation that sometimes causes pay to be brought forward or back or even restructured. The list goes on and on. Even low-resolution yearly figures would need to be cleaned up because of large and small changes in the tax code

    I know this is not what you want to hear but if HMRS produced your figure they would first have to do some labour intensive heavy-duty manipulation for it to make any sense. That’s why mark got a result that was more than double the real figure. The ONS do all the necessary data clean up work and they present us with a numbers that usually make sense. You’re probably even more frustrated now but I’m just giving it to you straight

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  • Flash, personally I’m warming to the Glaswegian cabbie methodology:-)
    Like you said earlier, the actual number is meaningless, it’s the trend over time that matters so let’s just leave it there shall we?

    By the way, data for sole traders and the like is also available…. Please don’t reply – I want the last word.

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  • word

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  • ffokcuf

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