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Almost 30 million people now have jobs in Britain – a record high – but real GDP is 3.3 per cent lower than it was in 2008.
Almost 30 million people now have jobs in Britain – a record high – but real GDP is 3.3 per cent lower than it was in 2008.
(LUKE MACGREGOR/REUTERS)

BREAKINGVIEWS

U.K. jobs hit record high amid slumping GDP. What gives?

Reuters Breakingviews delivers agenda-setting financial insight. Its global correspondents react to stories as they develop, delivering sharp and provocative commentary on big financial news as it breaks.

At last count, 29.7 million people had jobs in the U.K., the highest level ever. That is cheering news, up to a point. While employment is rising, GDP has fallen. In the beginning of 2008, real GDP was 3.3 per cent higher than now – and employment was 0.7 per cent lower. In other words, the two counts – jobs and output, are moving in opposite directions. Economists express that discrepancy as a fall in productivity, output per worker. What’s going on?