One of the confusing trends since the Brexit referendum vote can be found in the official measure of national income or GDP. A glance at the data since 2016 reveals a series of ups and downs from quarter to quarter, and very little in the way of a trend.
The Brexit was a disaster for the economy, while the mini-recoveries play to the Brexiters' charge that "project fear" to no more than a childish scare tactic. This year has proved to be little different. Brexit deadline in March boosted the first-quarter GDP number before a slump in the second quarter.
The third quarter, ending on 30 September, for which we now have two monthly figures to help us gauge the result, looks like it will be mildly positive. The July figure from the Office for National Statistics of 0.3% was followed by -0.1% in August. A little bit of stockpiling in September before the October Brexit deadline is expected to raise the average to 0.1% or even slightly better.
Whatever the outcome of the negotiations going on at the moment between No 10 and the EU, Brexiters wants to say that all the uncertainty is worth it, especially when a recession fails to appear.
For many Remainers, this feels like a betrayal. Not that anyone wanted the economy to slump. It's just that the Treasury, the International Monetary Fund and the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development said it would, should Britain vote to leave the EU. What kind of forecasters are they so if something so important can be miscalculated so badly?
This view has become entrenched, even though the latest analysis from the Institute for Fiscal Studies shows that the post-referendum analysis has come to pass. That is, the UK economy has gone down, and now has 2% to 3%.
The trajectory of GDP growth from March 2016 was calculated by the Office for Budget Responsibility and showed the UK being between £ 40bn and £ 60bn bigger than it is now. That would be a huge loss of income to business and households.
Worx are the cuts made by business that wants to make Britain happy. Business investment in new plant, machinery and technology has grown 0.4% since 2016. That is barely more than 0.1% a year. Contrast that growth rate with 2015, when business investment increased by 6.5% and in 2014 when it jumped 7.3%.
Training is another target for cuts. Last year the lobby group the CBI said businesses were cutting back on product development and training at a rate not seen since the economy was in recession in 2009. That trend has continued. Without training and investment, UK firms are as ready for the next industrial revolution as Mickey Mouse would be for the Rugby World Cup.
Still, the Brexiter might say, "But where is the promised recession?" That lasted through much of 2018.
Migration, especially, seems to have blindsided economists. When a country can count on about 1 million more people every four years, it is almost impossible for GDP (financial crises notwithstanding). Almost all migrants are working-age adults. The Migration Observatory says the general trend is for individuals in their 20s and early 30s to arrive in search of work.
Yes, they put pressure on housing and primary schools once they get around to having children, but study after study has shown the UK is a net gainer from migration, even the uncontrolled version of the courtesy of EU membership.
The trend this year is flat, which is the net migration figure in August what 226,000, around the same as the 230,000 lakes in 2017 and down from the recent peak of 343,000 in 2015. Still, it does not say much for The gaps in employment, from pulling pints and digging carrots to designing buildings and extracting teeth.
Brexit or its cousin, the managed Brexit deal contained in Boris Johnson's briefcase. It wants to be because the UK's economic engine is only moving with the help of legions from abroad.