UK economy grows unexpectedly by 0.1% amid strong services

Jan 12, 2023, 10:35 AM | Updated: Jan 13, 2023, 12:38 am

LONDON (AP) — The U.K. 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% from the previous month, the Office for National Statistics said Friday. That beat the expectations of economists, who had forecast a 0.2% 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% growth in administrative and support activities, with employment services growing 2.1%, the ONS said. Overall, service industries account for about 80% of the British economy.

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

Growth in the service sector offset a 0.2% decline in the output of production industries, the ONS said.

Manufacturing declined 0.5% in November and construction activity stagnated in the month.

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