GDP increased by 0.7% in Q4 2013 following three consecutive quarters of positive growth. The growth was widespread, with increases in three of the four main industry groups. Output increased by 0.5% in agriculture, 0.7% in production and 0.8% in services, while construction decreased by 0.3%.
As a result GDP is estimated to have increased by 1.9% between 2012 and 2013. However, GDP in the final quarter of 2013 remains 1.3% below its pre-downturn peak in Q1 2008.
Labour market statistics for Q4 2013 showed a 0.6% quarterly rise in employment with the employment rate now standing at 72.1%, up 0.3 percentage points. Over the same quarter, the unemployment rate fell by 0.4 percentage points to 7.2%, and total weekly hours worked rose by 0.4% to 966.8 million hours.
While the labour market as a whole has been more resilient than output throughout the economic downturn and the subsequent recovery, a different picture can be seen when looking at changes in the number of men and women in work. This is shown in Figure 2.
Impacted harder by the 2008-09 downturn, the male employment rate fell sharply from 79% to 74.9% between Q1 2008 and Q1 2010, and while experiencing a steady increase since then it is still 1.2 percentage points lower than in Q1 2008.
In the latest quarter, Q4 2013, 77.1% of men aged 16-64 were in work, up from 76.8% in the previous quarter and 76.6% a year earlier. However, the employment rate for men remains 2.4 points below what it was before the 2008-09 downturn.
The female employment rate however, experienced a relatively muted fall in employment and, combined with the effects of changes in legislation such as raised state pension age and the eligibility for Lone Parent Income Support (LPIS), has experienced a strong recovery.
In Q4 2013, the employment rate for women increased to 67.2%, which is the highest figure on record.
Source: Office for National Statistics
GDP data is from the "Gross Domestic Product: Preliminary Estimate - Q4 2013" published on 28th January 2014.
Labour Market data is from the "Labour Market Statistics - February 2014" published on 19th February 2014.
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