Economy grew faster than expected in first quarter of this year, ONS says
The UK economy grew faster than expected between January and March this year, new revised official figures have suggested.
The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said that it now thinks that gross domestic product (GDP) rose by 0.3% in the first three months of the year, up from the 0.1% previously estimated.
The ONS left its estimate for the second quarter of the year unchanged, it said on Friday.
ONS chief economist Grant Fitzner said: “Our new estimates indicate a stronger performance for professional and scientific businesses due to improved data sources.
“Meanwhile, healthcare grew less because of new near real-time information showing the cost of delivering services.”
It means that the UK economy is now expected to have grown by 1.8% between the final quarter of 2019, before the pandemic hit, and the second quarter of this year.
That puts the country’s economy ahead of both Germany (0.2%) and France (1.7%) during the same period. But it is still behind Italy (2.1%), Canada (3.5%), Japan (3%) and the US (6.1%).
A previous estimate had shown that the UK’s economy shrunk by 0.5% during that period, the joint-worst performance with Germany out of the countries above.
It comes following a series of revisions to GDP estimates, which were made much more difficult during the pandemic and energy crisis.
Earlier this month, the ONS said that it now thinks that GDP returned to its pre-pandemic level by the last three months of 2021, much earlier than first thought.
The ONS made the revisions after getting access to new data. Taken together, recent revisions mean that GDP is around 2% higher than it had thought to be previously.
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