More bleak economic news today; with RBS announcing that they are to cut 9,000 jobs – estimates from the National Institute of Economic and Social Reform showed the economy shrank by 1.5 per cent in the first quarter of the year. Consumer confidence is being badly hit – figures from Nationwide Building Society show that the index of confidence fell in March to January’s record low of 41, after rising to 43 in February, with 66 per cent of people saying there were few jobs available, from 64 per cent in February.
And the news is not much brighter ‘across the pond’ – with US business confidence in the same woeful state as the UK. The Business Roundtable’s quarterly CEO Economic Outlook Index fell to minus 5 in the first quarter, the first negative reading in the survey’s six-year history and down from a fourth-quarter reading of 16.5. Evidently a reading below 50 means that chief executives expect contraction rather than growth.