HeraldScotland: Iain Macwhirter Unspun banner new

Columnists are often accused, sometimes fairly, of always accentuating the negative. Looking on the gloomy side. Glass half-empty. So here is some unalloyed good news. Unemployment is now roughly where it was before the pandemic.  

That may sound like a rather dull piece of good news, but it is actually quite remarkable. Almost incredible. This time last year many people, myself included, were forecasting that millions would be added to the unemployment figures, once the furlough scheme was wound up.  

The economy had suffered its greatest shock since the 2008 financial crash, we all said. This was bound to lead to recession and job losses, we all said.  

Markets were devastated. Investment was tanking as civil engineering and other projects were cancelled. Many companies were not expected to survive covid, especially in hospitality and other services. The government finances were wrecked because of the downturn. Paying down government debt was sure to feed through into more people on the dole. At least, that’s what we all thought.

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