The UK economy grew by 0.5 per cent in the first quarter of 2011, official figures reaffirmed today.
The Office for National Statistics’ (ONS) second look at Q1 gross domestic product (GDP) data confirmed a fall in construction output of 4 per cent, already revised up from 4.7 per cent. This compares with a fall of 2.3 per cent in the previous quarter.
The ONS said the growth during the first quarter followed a contraction in GDP of 0.5 per cent in the final three months of 2010. GDP in the first quarter of 2011 is now 1.8 per cent higher than the first quarter of 2010.
Chris Williamson, chief economist at Markit, which provides data to the Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply (CIPS), said the updated ONS data outlining the ‘meagre’ economic growth contained no real surprises – but he took the opportunity to reiterate that the 4 per cent contraction of the construction sector remains at odds with survey evidence.
According to the ONS, exports of goods and services rose by 3.7 per cent, while imports fell by 2.3 per cent. Output in the service industries rose by 0.9 per cent.
Mr Williams said manufacturing and services grew at ‘decent rates’, but argued that it was a result of the weak pound and strong growth in overseas market, rather than any deliberate policy initiatives.
He added: “The ongoing downbeat mood among households in the second quarter, added to the slower growth of demand in export markets, suggests that economic growth will remain subdued at best.”