UK economy bounces back as GDP rises

In the three months to May, the economy expanded at its quickest pace for over two years

UK economy bounces back as GDP rises

The UK economy returned to growth in May, recording a 0.4% increase in gross domestic product (GDP), following zero growth in the previous month.

In the three months to May 2024, GDP increased by 0.9% compared to the previous three months, driven by a 1.1% rise in services output.

Services output grew by 0.3% in both May and April, with the April growth revised up from 0.2%.

GDP figures released by the Office for National Statistics on Thursday also showed a 0.2% rise in production output in May, after a 0.9% decline in April. Over the three months to May, production showed no growth.

Construction output increased by 1.9%, following a revised decline of 1.1% in the previous month. However, construction output fell by 0.7% over the three months to May.

“The economy grew strongly in May with all the main sectors seeing increases,” commented Liz McKeown, ONS director of economic statistics. “Many retailers and wholesalers had a good month, with both bouncing back from a weak April.

“Construction grew at its fastest rate in almost a year after recent weakness, with house building and infrastructure projects boosting the industry. Meanwhile, manufacturing also grew a little, led by food and drink firms.

“Across the last three months as a whole, the economy grew at its quickest pace for over two years with strong growth across services, partially offset by the weaker longer-term performance from construction.”

Nicholas Hyett, investment manager at Wealth Club, said businesses attributed the growth in part to the warmest May on record, following an exceptionally wet April.

“After April’s washout, the construction industry also enjoyed a strong month, with new housing and infrastructure output up 2.8% and 3.5%, respectively,” Hyett said. “Both are priority areas for the new government – and this suggests decent foundations for the future.

“Overall, the UK economy looks like it went into the election in a pretty good state. However, increasingly volatile weather patterns have made for a bumpy ride recently, and that’s likely to continue going forwards in an economic environment that is already vulnerable to global macro shocks.”

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