February 9, 2023

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UK economy grows unexpectedly by 0.1 per cent amid strong services

The UK economy grew unexpectedly in November as the tight job market increased demand for employment services and soccer’s World Cup boosted hospitality.

Gross domestic product, the broadest measure of economic activity, increased 0.1 per cent from the previous month, the Office for National Statistics said on Friday. That beat the expectations of economists, who had forecast a 0.2 per cent contraction.

Despite the better-than-expected figures, the ONS says monthly GDP estimates should be treated with caution because they are more volatile than quarterly data.

Economists are waiting for the release of fourth-quarter GDP data next month, which will show whether the British economy shrank from a second consecutive quarter in the three months through December. Two quarters of negative growth is one definition of a recession.

November’s expansion was driven by a 2 per cent growth in administrative and support activities, with employment services growing 2.1 per cent, the ONS said. Overall, service industries account for about 80 per cent of the British economy.

Consumer-facing activities expanded 0.4 per cent led by a 2.2 per cent jump in food and beverage services as the soccer World Cup got underway.

Growth in the service sector offset a 0.2 per cent decline in the output of production industries, the ONS said.
Manufacturing declined 0.5 per cent in November and construction activity stagnated in the month.