Okay, employment shrunk a little during the period – down a modest 6,000. But UK unemployment remained at 4.8 per cent.

Paul Hollingsworth, UK Economist at Capital Economics said: "There were some tentative signs that productivity has picked up in the fourth quarter. Total hours worked fell by 0.1 per cent in the three months to October, while surveys such as the Markit/CIPS PMI, point to GDP growth of about 0.5 per cent in Q4. Stronger productivity growth should allow wages to strengthen without worrying the MPC that domestic cost pressures are building too. “

He added: " Looking ahead, we don’t think that any weakening in the labour market will be particularly severe. After all, survey measures of employment intentions continue to point to positive (albeit weak) growth in employment over the next few months and we remain more optimistic than most about the prospects for GDP growth over the next couple of years. As a result, we think that the unemployment rate will peak at about 5.5 per cent, which would still be low by past standards.”