Recession woes over as UK economy grows for second month in a row: ‘A welcome sign!’

Recession woes over as UK economy grows for second month in a row: ‘A welcome sign!’

The British public reacting to the UK falling into recession towards the end of last year

Patrick O'Donnell

By Patrick O'Donnell

Published: 12/04/2024

- 07:33

Updated: 12/04/2024

- 08:06

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) published the latest GDP figures earlier this morning which suggest the country’s economy is improving

The UK economy grew for the second month in a row after experiencing a "technical" recession last year, based on the latest gross domestic product (GDP) numbers.

GDP increased by an estimated 0.1 per cent in February, according to figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

Reacting to the news, Chancellor Jeremy Hunt said: “These figures are a welcome sign that the economy is turning a corner, and we can build on this progress if we stick to our plan.

“Last week our cuts to National Insurance for 29 million working people came into effect across Britain, as part of our plan to reward work and grow the economy.”

The ONS also revised its previous estimate for January 2024 from 0.2 per cent to 0.3 per cent growth.

This second month of economic growth is primarily contributed to the production side of the economy as output from the sector rose 1.1 per cent in February, compared to a 0.3 per cent fall in January.

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UK economy graph and happy stock trader

The UK economy grew in February 2024 for the second month in a row


Over the period, construction sector output fell by 1.9 per cent.

“The economy grew slightly in February with widespread growth across manufacturing, particularly in the car sector,” said ONS director of economic statistics Liz McKeown.

“Services also grew a little with public transport and haulage, and telecommunications having strong months.

“Partially offsetting this there were notable falls across construction as the wet weather hampered many building projects.”

Today's GDP figures suggest the UK economy is turning a corner after falling into a mild recession towards the end of 2023.

A recession is defined as happening when a country experiences at least two-quarters of negative economic growth in a row.

This results in the economy contracting, as it did in the second half of last year.

With January and February GDP figures showed growth, March's figures would need to show a drop of 1.29 per cent for the whole first quarter of 2024 to be negative.

Despite this improvement, experts have noted the economy barely showed growth in February.

Dr. Roger Barker, the director of Policy at the Institute of Directors, explained: "After a strong start to the year, the consumer-facing parts of the economy – particularly accommodation and food services – took a backward step.


Jeremy Hunt

Jeremy Hunt hailed today's GDP figures as a sign the economy has turned a corner


"Construction was also surprisingly weak, although there were encouraging signs of revival in production and manufacturing output.

“It appears that the UK’s ascent out of the mild technical recession of last year is a relatively shallow one.

"Although the latest figures suggest that the UK is likely to generate positive economic growth in the first quarter, there are few signs of a strong economic rebound.

"The assertion that the UK economy has decisively turned the corner, as recently asserted by the Prime Minister, is still yet to find confirmation in the data."

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