Any economic measure given too much prominence starts to misbehave. By David Smith.
During Britain long recession and, its seems, interminable wait for economic recovery, one subject has received more attention than most. Confidence, among businessmen or consumers, has been seen as a key factor in determining when, if not whether, the upturn is to come.
Norman Lamont, in citing the rise in business and consumer confidence of last autumn, clearly thought that he was on to something. The Treasury, which goes over the Confederation of British Industry's quarterly trends survey with a fine tooth comb, and pays close attention to other business and consumer surveys was convinced that, with optimism increasing, recovery could not be far behind.