UK GDP ‘bounced back’ in November

The UK economy returned to growth in November 2023 after shrinking in October, according to new figures.

Monthly gross domestic product (GDP) grew by an estimated 0.3%, recovering from a 0.3% decline in the previous month when output was affected by heavy rain and strong winds.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said that November’s improvement was led by the services sector, including a boost to retail from Black Friday sales.

However, ONS chief economist Grant Fitzner noted that the long-term picture “remains one of an economy that has shown little growth over the last year”.

In the three months to November, the economy shrank by 0.2% with widespread falls across manufacturing, partly offset by increases in public services, which saw less impact from strike action.

Earlier data showed that GDP declined between July and September. If this is followed by a contraction between October and December, the economy will meet the criteria for a recession.

Ruth Gregory, deputy chief UK economist at Capital Economics, said that the rebound in November “probably means the economy escaped a recession in 2023”, but the final quarter is likely to show zero growth.