First of all, the GDP growth of first six months of 2012 was estimated to have been 2.4%. The previously posted 3.1% growth of 2011 was reevaluated downwards to 2.6% - there goes any reason for the central bank to up the policy rates further! GDP per person is still way below what it was before the crash happened: five years later we are still only getting 91% of the GDP per person we had.
Still long way to go! Although the economy is slowly bouncing back the GDP levels per person are still meagre 91% of what they were 5 years ago.
Furthermore, and what is most important, the investment levels are still laughable in historical context. Total investment has still not gone up above 15% of GDP when the normal ratio should be close to 19-20% or thereabouts. Industry investment is only slowly coughing its way upwards when in fact a lot more investment is exactly what the economy needs! But no need to be surprised about that: the offshore krona problem is still around and interest rates are too high. Is it any wonder that the economy is not bouncing back properly!
A very severe problem is in fact arising due to the low investment levels: we are not keeping up with amortisation! The machines we use to produce whatever we are producing are breaking down faster than we can replace and fix them. To expect a proper economic recovery with reducing capital stock is like expecting to be able to run faster when you're 80 years old than when you were 25.
Investment, especially industrial investment, is still only a shadow of itself. Categorised figures only stretch back to 1997 but next graph shows how slowly total investment is recovering.
Total investment (blue line) is still insufficient. Investment is in fact so low in fact that we are not managing to keep up with the amortisation of capital with the obvious consequence that the stock of capital is reducing (red line, right axis). How exactly are we going to improve productivity for the longer run if investment is not even enough to keep up with the amortisation? Red dot is 1H2012.
As expected, when investment is low the level of employment is as well. A break in the correlation between total investment and unemployment seems to be visible after the 2008 crash. The effects of emigration on the employment figures should not be taken lightly. Employment will not bounce back until the level of investment recovers.
A structural break seems to be present in the data on unemployment and investment levels after 2008. A likely explanation is the emigration to e.g. Norway and other popular post crisis destinations of the Icelandic worker.
A reposted figure from Unemployment in Iceland. Don't expect the total number of worked hours per worker to grow much while the level of investment is as low as it is. The GDP growth is a froth!