GDP increased by 0.7% in the fourth quarter of 2013.The largest contribution to the increase came from the services sector, which increased by 0.8%.The increase in GDP followed growth of 0.8% in Q3 2013. In the latest quarter there was widespread growth, with increases in three of the four main aggregates. Output increased by 0.5% in agriculture, 0.7% in production, 0.8% in services and decreased 0.3% in construction.
GDP was 2.8% higher in Q4 2013 compared with the same quarter a year ago. GDP is estimated to have increased by 1.9% between 2012 and 2013.
There was an upwards contribution from the production sector, which grew by 0.7%, with manufacturing increasing by 0.9%.
GDP in the UK grew steadily from 2000 until early 2008, at which point a financial market shock affected UK and global economic growth. Up until that point, services in the UK had continued to grow steadily, while production output had been broadly flat over the same period. Construction activity grew strongly in the early part of the decade and although there was a temporary decline in the mid-2000s, this was reversed by the end of 2007. The deterioration in general economic conditions during 2008/09 was more acute in the construction and production industries, but less pronounced in the services industries.
Economic growth resumed towards the end of 2009, but at a slower rate than the period prior to 2008. The services industries grew steadily, if slowly, during this period, with activity exceeding the level previously seen in early 2008 by Q3 2013. By contrast, production and construction activity grew in 2010 but did not sustain this growth, and as a result have not yet returned to their pre-downturn peaks of activity. Although there has been growth across all industrial groupings except agriculture (which accounts for less than 1% of GDP and is highly volatile), when comparing Q4 2013 with Q4 2012 the service industries remain the primary contributor to economic growth (Table 1).
From the peak in Q1 2008 to the trough in Q2 and Q3 2009, GDP decreased by 7.2%. Previous economic downturns in the early 1980s and early 1990s did not see the same level of impact on GDP. In the early 1990s downturn, GDP decreased by 2.9% from the peak in Q2 1990 to the trough in Q3 1991. From Q2 1979 to Q1 1981, a period which included a quarter of positive growth, GDP decreased by 5.9%; over five consecutive quarters of falling GDP beginning in Q1 1980, GDP decreased by 4.6%.
Source: Office for National Statistics
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