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UK - GDP up +0.5%, employment down -0.2% in Q1 2011

27 April 2011

Gross Domestic Product (GDP) increased by +0.5% in quarter one 2011, according to the latest figures, published today, by the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

The economy remains below the level of output recorded before the start of the recession. GDP has recovered about a third of the output lost during the recession. In the past two recessions it took just over three years for output to reach pre-recession level.

GDP fell -4.6% in the 1980s recession, by -2.5% in the 1990s recession and by -6.4% in the 2000s recession.

GDP in Q1 2011 returns to the level in Q3 2010.

GDP increased by +0.5% in the first quarter of 2011, following a decrease of -0.5% in the fourth quarter of 2010. The effect of the abnormal weather conditions in December 2010 is estimated to have subtracted -0.5% from growth in the fourth quarter. GDP is estimated now to have returned to the level in the third quarter of 2010.

The main areas contributing to the increase in the latest quarter are:

• Production industries output was up +0.4% (contributing +0.1% to GDP growth)
• Construction output decreased by -4.7% (contributing -0.3%)
• Total services output increased by +0.9% (contributing +0.7%)

Between quarter four 2009 to quarter four 2010, total employment rose by +0.8% (+383,000). The most recent quarter, however, saw total employment fall by -0.2% (-68,000) compared to the previous three months.

The number of self-employed individuals stood at 3.98 million in quarter four 2010, down -49,000 on the previous quarter. However, self-employment is still 2.4% (92,000) higher than the same time last year.

Also, comparing quarter four 2010 with quarter four 2009:

Full-time employment fell by less than -0.1% (-5,000).

Part-time employment grew by +2.9% (+224,000).

Self-employment grew by +2.4% (+92,000).

Employees grew by +0.4% (+110,000).

Over the six quarters of economic contraction from quarter one 2008, total employment fell by -600,000. In the 1980s recession, the final quarter of economic contraction saw employment levels -619,000 lower than pre-recession level. At the end of the 1990s recession, employment was -910,000 lower than it was prior to the recession.


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