UK economy grows 0.1% as services activity strengthens

The UK economy unexpectedly picked up in November, boosted by increased service activity related to the FIFA Men’s World Cup.

GDP increased by 0.1% between October and November 2022, the National Bureau of Statistics said on Friday. A Reuters poll of economists forecast a contraction of 0.2%.

“The economy grew slightly in November, with increases in telecommunications and computer programming propelling the economy forward,” said Darren Morgan, director of economic statistics for the ONS. “Pubs and bars were also doing well as people went out to watch the World Cup games.”

Consumer services output increased by 0.4% in November, with the largest contributor to growth coming from food and beverage services activity in the month the World Cup started.

However, this was partially offset by contraction in some manufacturing sectors, including the often volatile pharmaceutical industry, partly due to strikes, and a drop in transport and postal services.

“The most important thing we can do to help is to stick to our plan to halve inflation this year and get the economy growing again,” said Prime Minister Jeremy Hunt.

The economy contracted by 0.3% in the three months to November. High inflation and rising borrowing costs hit households and businesses.

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