Will today's poor jobs figures hit consumer demand?

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Keep calm and consume
Keep calm and consume Photo: Matt Alexander/PA Wire

What hope is there of an economic recovery this year? We will find out next week whether the country slipped into a shallow triple dip recession but the big picture is one of stagnation.

Consumer demand - people spending money - is one of the most important drivers of growth and in recent months it has been remarkably resilient. But that may be about to end.

Christmas shopping in Glasgow last year
Christmas shopping in Glasgow last year Credit: Andrew Milligan/PA Wire

This morning we discovered that the recent run of good news in the jobs market is running out of steam.

Unemployment rose by 70,000 people in the three months to February taking the rate from 7.8 percent to 7.9 percent, the highest in five months.

Read: Unemployment rises by 70,000

Furthermore, wages for those who do have a job are falling yet further behind the prices in shops. Pay packets rose by only 0.8 percent while inflation edged up to 2.8 per cent.

Both unemployment and inflation are expected to get worse as the year wears on. That is hardly a good base upon which to build a recovery.