GDP up 0.1%
First, well done Danny Gabbay and his economists at Fathom for predicting the ONS figure would come out at 0.1%. That's not the same as predicting actual growth but correctly modelling how the ONS will measure it.
That 0.1% is such a small recovery that I am now wondering whether, if had had eaten fewer Mars bars in December I could have single handedly sabotaged it.
Now, what does it mean? It means that - even though the 0.1% is even across sectors (service, manufacturing) it is highly likely that we're going through a two-speed recovery, the north stagnating, the south growing faster.
The reason we've recovered at all seems to be a) low interest rates, b) numerous micro schemes to stop foreclosures and job losses from spiralling into a deeper recession, c) £200bn quantitative easing, d) the falling pound and e) car scrappage schemes across Europe. Also discretionary public spending and the VAT cut.
Now: the public spending is set to be reined back and the VAT cut is over. The car scrappage stops this year and the low interest rates cannot last forever. Sterling devaluaton - not being a government policy - is prey to global conditons and could reverse (indeed had slightly). In addition, insolvency experts are telling us there are numerous retail businesses on the brink - again particularly in northern Britain.
We'll be exploring some of this patchyness and scratchyness tonight on Newsnight, with a cast of politicians, economists and businesspeople. If you've got a strong argument to make, hit the comments button. I've been in the Pennines talking to businesses for whome the economic climate still feels as raw as the weather.