The economy is having a growth spurt. On the basis of the snapshot of the service sector from CIPS/Markit, the rate of expansion stepped up a gear in the third quarter of 2013.
National output increased by 0.7% in the second quarter and looks to have beaten that in the three months to September. The most pessimistic City forecast is for third-quarter output to be up 0.8% but there are some analysts who think it could be as high as 1.3%.
The Office for National Statistics will have its first stab at estimating third-quarter GDP later this month but clearly there has been a marked acceleration since the start of the year.
This week's reports on manufacturing, construction and now services suggest that the outlook for the rest of 2013 and beyond is for strong growth to continue. George Osborne might be keeping a wary eye on developments in the US but it would take a debt default rather than a temporary government shutdown to knock the UK economy off course now. Indeed, a more pertinent question is whether Britain has achieved what Mark Carney calls "escape velocity".
Not quite, says the governor of the Bank of England. In normal times, the economy grows by around 2.5% a year and on that basis would be getting on for 15% bigger than it was when the recession began in early 2008. In reality, it is 3% smaller, which means there is plenty of unused capacity that can be used up before inflationary problems start to appear. Carney believes that policy can be left nice and loose for the time being.
The Bank's reluctance to tighten policy at least until unemployment has come down to 7% means economic policy will remain highly stimulative. Consensus growth forecasts for 2014 are far too low and will be revised up. Growth of 3.5% in 2014 looks entirely plausible.
Stronger expansion should be accompanied by rising real incomes. Inflation is on course to dip below 2% early next year and an increased demand for labour will lead to higher wages. The improvement in living standards will be small and it won't be enough to offset the real wage cuts seen in the rest of this parliament but it will allow ministers to say that a corner has been turned.
As things stand, though, this will be a short boomlet rather than the sort of steady, sustained recovery the economy needs. Why? Because rising demand is the result of rising spending rather than investment. Because consumers are funding their spending by running down their savings. And because it is all too easy to envisage what two or three more quarters of strong growth will do to a bubble-prone housing market.
Six months ago, the economic debate was about the risk of a triple-dip recession. Today it is about "escape velocity". In six months time, it will be about the risks of overheating.
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