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UK GDP growth revised down after fall in spending

23 February 2018

The employment rate remains at a near high but weekly wages actually fell in the three months to December, official statistics reveal.

Armed with more information following an initial estimate, the Office for National Statistics said Thursday that the British economy expanded by only 0.4 percent in the October to December period, down from 0.5 percent before, largely because of lower than anticipated industrial production.

The numbers of people out of work grew from 1.425 million to 1.47 million, marking a rise of 46,000 during the final quarter and the biggest recorded rise since the beginning of 2013.

Alongside employment figures, the ONS noted that United Kingdom productivity also grew during the quarter, marking its strongest output since the financial crisis.

The former have been constrained by a sharp rise in inflation that was due to the fall in the pound following the referendum.

United Kingdom unemployment has increased for the first time in nearly two years, new figures have revealed.

Analysts said that Wednesday's data reduced the likelihood that the Bank of England would raise its main interest rate in May, as had been widely expected by markets.

The figures show the construction industry in recession, stagnating businesses investment, foreign workers fleeing the United Kingdom, and families tightening their belts after being squeezed by rising inflation and weak wage growth.

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Workers' total earnings, including bonuses, rose by an annual 2.5 percent in the three months to December, as expected and unchanged from the three months to November.

In December alone, total pay jumped by 2.8 percent, up from 2.3 percent in November.

Excluding bonuses, earnings rose by 2.5 percent year on year against expectations for a 2.4 percent rise.

Services - the biggest part of the United Kingdom economy - grew 0.6 per cent in the fourth quarter, though downward revisions to components including distribution, hotels and restaurants contributed to the revision in headline GDP.

The wage rates are below the inflation rate of 3 percent, which is a full percentage point above the Bank's target.

Meanwhile, growth in the number of EU nationals working in Britain slowed and the number of eastern European workers fell.

The figures will be a blow to Theresa May's Government, who say the Tories are the only party that can be trusted with the economy'.

UK GDP growth revised down after fall in spending