Growth is expected to have risen further to 4½ per cent in 2018, following past strong performance. Domestic demand is fuelled by strong private consumption, reflecting high real income gains, and dynamic business and housing investments. The unemployment rate has fallen to a historically low level and labour shortages have emerged. This has been, accompanied by strong and broad-based wage increases, helping to preserve a high level of income equality, and restarting income convergence. Inflation reached 3.8% in the autumn of 2018, partly as the result of higher energy and food prices, before coming down again. Productivity growth has accelerated, although it remains well below real wage growth and the rate prevailing in the decade prior to the international financial crisis.