Figures published today (April 29) by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show that the UK economy grew again in the first three months of the year, marking the fifth consecutive period of GDP growth.
According to the ONS, gross domestic (GDP) product grew by 0.8 per cent, rising from 0.7 per cent in the last quarter of 2013. However, it also pointed out that the economy is still 0.6 per cent smaller than its peak in early 2008, meaning that, from peak to trough in 2009, the economy shrank by 7.2 per cent.
Output increased in three of the four main industrial groupings within the economy in Q1 2014 compared with Q4 2013. In order of their contribution, output increased by 0.9 per cent in services, which accounts from some 75 per cent of the whole, 0.8 per cent in production and 0.3 per cent in construction. However, output decreased by 0.7 per cent in agriculture, almost certainly due to the adverse weather conditions.
According to the report from the ONS, GDP grew steadily from 2000 until early 2008, at which point the financial crisis affected UK and global economic growth. Up until that point, services in the UK had continued to grow steadily, while production output had been broadly flat.
Construction activity also grew strongly in the early part of the decade and although there was a temporary decline in the mid-2000s, this was reversed by the end of 2007.
The deterioration in general economic conditions during 2008/09 was more acute in the construction and production industries, but less pronounced in the services industries.
However, GDP was 3.1 per cent higher in the first quarter of this year than it was during the same period in 2013, and the ONS believes that it will grow again in Q2.