UK avoids triple dip recession

THE UK has avoided an unprecedented triple dip recession after official figures showed output grew by 0.3% in the first quarter of the year.

This followed a 0.3% contraction in the final three months of 2012. A recession is officially defined by two consecutive quarters of negative growth.

Joe Grice, chief economist of the Office for National Statistics, said the growth had much to do with the success of the service sector, which has grown by 0.8% since the trough of 2009.

However, there was disappointing news for both the manufacturing and construction sectors.

Manufacturing contracted 0.3% during the first quarter, while construction declined by 2.5%, which Mr Grice said extended the trend seen for some time.

The Production sector has declined by 13.4% from its pre-recession peak in 2009, with manufacturing down 10% and construction 18.1%.

Steve Brittan, Birmingham Chamber of Commerce Group president, said much of the credit for avoiding the tripe dip had to go to the private sector, which he said had shown “tremendous resilience” in attempting to increase business and boost employment in the region.

“This positive news bears out the chamber’s quarterly economic survey results, which show that the economy is improving but growth is sluggish.  Confidence is on the up and we are seeing business intention to recruit more people and invest in their products or services,” he said.

“We are bumping along the bottom and we are not where we thought we would be in the economic cycle.

“The economy is still volatile and weak and Government must act now and invest in infrastructure and housing, to sustain business recruitment and investment.”