Britain Bounces Back

The latest employment figures from the U.K. shows that it continues to roughly mirror the U.S.’s trajectory in job growth. Unemployment is at a 6 1/2 year low.


As a falling unemployment rate does not necessarily mean that more people are working, it is worth noting that more Britons have jobs at this moment than at any time in the nation’s history. Wages are also up, both in real and nominal terms.

Count me unsurprised about the British resurgence. Three years ago, when many pundits were pronouncing Britain dead in the water (after all — they weren’t even smart enough to adopt the Euro…), I wrote this here:

The people of this country are a lot hardier than they are sometimes given credit for, and are more able to persist through difficult times than perhaps even they themselves know (or remember). And more generally, human beings are remarkably good at squeezing joy, love and meaning out of life even when things are not going as they wished or hoped economically.

And that’s why as I walk through London these days I am possessed of a most un-British spirit: Open, unembarrassed and unrestrained optimism about the future of this country and the people in it.

Author: Keith Humphreys

Keith Humphreys is the Esther Ting Memorial Professor of Psychiatry at Stanford University and an Honorary Professor of Psychiatry at Kings College London. His research, teaching and writing have focused on addictive disorders, self-help organizations (e.g., breast cancer support groups, Alcoholics Anonymous), evaluation research methods, and public policy related to health care, mental illness, veterans, drugs, crime and correctional systems. Professor Humphreys' over 300 scholarly articles, monographs and books have been cited over thirteen thousand times by scientific colleagues. He is a regular contributor to Washington Post and has also written for the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Monthly, San Francisco Chronicle, The Guardian (UK), The Telegraph (UK), Times Higher Education (UK), Crossbow (UK) and other media outlets.