The contraction in GDP of 0.3% between the third and fourth quarter 2012 was unrevised in the Quarterly National Accounts. However, growth between the fourth quarter 2011 and the fourth quarter 2012 was revised down by 0.1 percentage points to growth of 0.2%. Despite this increase, output remains 2.9% lower than its pre-recession peak in the first quarter of 2008.
A number of unusual factors may have impacted on growth in 2012. In the second quarter, the poor weather and the loss of a working day due to the Diamond Jubilee may have reduced output. In contrast, the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games in the third quarter supported output, and this may have been partly responsible for the fall back in output of 0.3% during the fourth quarter.
The fall in output contrasts with a resilient labour market. The employment rate in the fourth quarter of 2012 was 71.5%, 0.3 percentage points higher than the previous quarter and 1.1 percentage points higher than the same quarter a year ago. The rise in employment was accompanied by a rise of 0.2% in total hours. In contrast to this, the average weekly hours worked fell by 0.3%, as the number of people employed increased at a faster rate than the total number of hours worked. The unemployment rate was unchanged at 7.8% during the fourth quarter, but the number of people unemployed decreased by 14,000 over the same period.
Source: Office for National Statistics
GDP: chained volume measures, seasonally adjusted, Office for National Statistics (ABMI)
Employment level: All aged 16 and over, seasonally adjusted, Labour Force Survey, Office for National Statistics (MGRZ)
Unemployment level: All aged 16 and over, seasonally adjusted, Labour Force Survey, Office for National Statistics (MGSC)
Total weekly hours (millions): seasonally adjusted, Labour Force Survey, Office for National Statistics (YBUS)
Average actual weekly hours worked: All workers, seasonally adjusted, Labour Force Survey, Office for National Statistics (YBUV)
GDP data is from the "Quarterly National Accounts - Q4 2012" published on the 27 March 2013.
Labour Market data is from the latest "Labour Market Statistical Bulletin" published on the 20 February 2013.
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