Reporting the economy: Hugh Pym

You need to understand the language of economics if you want the audience to understand your story. And you'll need to communicate that clearly. Hugh Pym is the BBC's former chief economics correspondent.

Are you clear about the different ways of measuring inflation? What does GDP mean, and what does it tell you about the health of the economy?

Do you know how the government measures unemployment?

And what do house prices and retail sales figures tell us about the economy?

Journalists routinely report these figures - but do they actually tell us anything about the economy?

The Office for Budget Responsibility was created in 2010 as one of the coalition government’s first initiatives. It was designed to take the politics out of economic forecasting, by effectively taking it out of the hands of the Chancellor and the Treasury.

It has four main roles:

  • It publishes five-year forecasts twice a year in its ‘Economic and Fiscal Outlook’
  • It judges the progress the Government is making towards its fiscal targets
  • It assesses the long-term sustainability of the public finances
  • It scrutinises the Treasury’s costing of measures announced in the Budget.

In this video, the BBC's former chief economics correspondent Hugh Pym offers a guide to the main figures and statistics you'll need to understand to report on the economy: what they mean and, just as important, what they don't.


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