Page last updated at 16:34 GMT, Thursday, 6 August 2009 17:34 UK

Taking the pulse of the global economy

By James Whittington
Business editor, BBC World Service

London commuters wait at a bus stop

Is white the colour of the global recession? It seems that the traditional white-collar shirt is making a comeback in Britain at least.

Sales of white shirts are up by 50% for one shirt retailer this year, the shop's owner thinks that office workers are shunning bold colours, stripes and patterns in favour of a more sombre, safer look to fit in with the mood of the moment.

In this month's Taking the Pulse of the Global Economy we look at how people around the world are changing their behaviour as a result of the recession.

TAKING THE PULSE OF THE GLOBAL ECONOMY
The BBC is Taking the Pulse of the Global Economy, looking at a range of subjects this summer
Consumer Behaviour: How lifestyles have changed over the year
Food prices remain a concern particularly in many developing economies
Energy costs: Highly volatile prices have been a major issue in the past year
Migrant workers their plight as the global recession takes hold in many economies
Housing markets have turned from boom to bust in many countries

Much of this is out of economic necessity, but there could also be a psychological shift - white shirts are no cheaper than other colours.
From Miami to Mumbai, and from Lille to Lagos the BBC looks at the effects of changing consumer behaviour.

We report from a funeral parlour where families are choosing cut-price coffins and the number of cremations is on the rise, and a second-hand jewellery shop in the US where New Yorkers are selling their family heirlooms.

In Europe, our reporters put on their sun hats and flip-flops to see at how holiday plans have changed as a result of the recession.

Lifestyle changes in Africa are tested with a businessman in Nigeria, a family in Johannesburg, and a group in friends in Singapore who meet each week to play football.

What crisis?

But not everybody is changing their behaviour. There's an upmarket resort in Uruguay, Punta del Este, where young rich Europeans and Americans like to party.

They organise their parties on Facebook and fly in by private jet. Crisis, what crisis?

Other big issues we have examined so far in Taking the Pulse of the Global Economy include the cost of food and energy, migration, housing and unemployment.

Paris commuters

In June, we looked at the rising numbers of those without work around the world and asked how this was affecting the life of migrant workers and the amount of money they are sending home.

In July, we focused on the price of food and fuel around the world.

In September, there will be a series of special programmes and reports to mark the first anniversary of the dramatic collapse of the Wall Street bank Lehman Brothers which intensified the financial crisis and deepened the global recession.

We will be looking at what has changed in the financial sector and asking who are the winners and losers of the global recession.

Since Lehman Brothers collapsed, the world economy has been sick, suffering its deepest recession in decades.

In Taking the Pulse of the Global Economy we monitor the patient and report back on its condition. You can follow the series online, on BBC World Service radio, and on BBC World TV.


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