Simon English: Number crunchers' 1% isn't too obvious down in Dagenham

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The Independent Online

Outlook: The double-dip is over, so the number-crunchers tell us. Over in Dagenham – a part of the world perhaps not regularly frequented by David Cameron unless there's a photo-op involved – there weren't too many champagne corks popping yesterday. The good folks of Dagenham have the sense to prefer Babycham anyway.

With timing that must have been cursed by Downing Street, Ford announced 1,400 job losses in Dagenham and Southampton.

Spontaneous outpourings of joy on the streets were also notable by their absence in Birmingham, where the local council said this week that more than 1,000 staff were surplus to requirements.

The magic 1 per cent growth between July and September is a chimera: more mathematical than real. When you take into account the Jubilee and Olympics sales, you're not much more than a rounding error away from stagnation. One thing our smooth-skinned PM also wasn't keen to stress yesterday – despite the growth "bonanza" – is that the UK has been flat for the past year. Since the Coalition took office, in fact, the UK has managed an advance of just 1 per cent, and still stands 3.1 per cent below its previous peak. These may not be reasons to boast.

For the future, the outlook is chilly. Virtually every forward-looking indicator of the economy is pointing lower. Businesses cast their eye at the US and the eurozone and they don't like what they see. Fiscal cliffs and Spanish bailouts are hardly confidence boosters.

But don't worry. The economy is "on the right track". Dave says so.