GDP misses expectations, despite record Q3 growth

The UK’s GDP surged by 15.5% in the third quarter, hitting record-breaking Q3 growth.

According to the Office for National Statistics, the growth is the largest quarterly growth ever recorded.

Despite the record growth, the GDP has still missed expectations and continues to be 9.7% less than before the pandemic.

The surge in the economy comes following a huge 19.8% slump in the UK economy in June following the new restrictions.

The economy has grown for five months in a row, however, it is still has a way to go.

The ONS said: “September 2020 GDP is now 22.9% higher than its April 2020 low. However, it remains 8.2% below the levels seen in February 2020, before the full impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.”

In the period between July and September, the service sector grew by 14.2%, production output was up by 14.3%, and construction output surged by 41.7%.

Ben Dyer, CEO of Powered Now, comments on how British construction will fare in the winter:

“The economic recovery we have seen in this morning’s announcement is indeed welcome, but of course with much of Britain in a state of national lockdown over the month of November, this month and the subsequent winter season are of course going to present yet more challenges. That’s why it would prudent to look towards sectors that remain open, such as construction and the trades, to provide the kind of stability we need at the moment.

“The new restrictions have had a negligible impact on the construction sector so far, and overall activity around construction has to be welcomed. Given the bonanza that housebuilders are currently experiencing from the stamp duty reduction, it’s no surprise that they are the best performing sector of the construction industry. Whether this boom for the housing industry will be followed by a bust is unknown. At the moment, most firms are just grateful for the good business they are getting right now given how much other sectors are suffering,” he added.

Responding to the latest GDP figures, chancellor Rishi Sunak said:

“Today’s figures show that our economy was recovering over the Summer, but started to slow going into Autumn. The steps we’ve had to take since to halt the spread of the virus mean growth has likely slowed further since then.

“But there are reasons to be cautiously optimistic on the health side – including promising news on tests and vaccines. My economic priority continues to be jobs – that’s why we extended furlough through to March and I welcome the news today that nearly 20,000 new roles for young people have been created through our Kickstart scheme.

“There are still hard times ahead, but we will continue to support people through this and ensure nobody is left without hope or opportunity,” he added.

The International Monetary Fund has predicted a 10.4% slump in UK GDP for 2020. They have predicted a growth of 5.7% for 2021.

Labour’s shadow chancellor, Anneliese Dodds, shared concern over the figures. Speaking to Sky News, Dodds said there were fears that the GDP could be shrinking in the current quarter. She said:

“There are concerns that we could be seeing a shift backwards because of the lockdown that it currently underway.

“This really shows that the government has got to get a grip of those issues that are driving economic decline, particularly the public health crisis and get test, trace and isolate sorted out.

“But make sure we have a longer-term horizon for economic support as well. That would really help to bring more confidence.”

 

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Safiya Bashir
Safiya focuses on business and political stories for UK Investor Magazine. Her interests include international development, travel and politics.