United Kingdom economic growth revised down at end of 2017

United Kingdom economic growth revised down at end of 2017

The ONS also revised its 2017 growth estimate down 0.1% to 1.7%, confirming the British economy cooled off somewhat in the year after Britons voted to leave the European Union.

Scotland's unemployment rate rose to 4.5 per cent in the final three months of previous year.

The UK economy grew more slowly than was previously thought last year as household spending and business investment tailed off in the final few months leaving Britain trailing even further behind America and the eurozone.

But the Bank of England expects pay to pick up soon, a big reason why it said earlier this month that interest rates are likely to rise faster and to a greater extent than they thought a few months previously. In 2017, growth was 1.7 per cent, the slowest since 2012.

So used to the "productivity puzzle" have economists become that when the ONS estimated productivity growth of 0.9% in the third quarter of a year ago, many dismissed it as a blip.

"It's not the nicest way to get productivity but it is effective as long as GDP growth doesn't slow too", she said.

Average earnings beat forecasts, the ONS said, with earnings (both including and excluding bonuses) increasing by 2.5% over the data period, compared to an expectation of 2.4% growth.

"The significant number of unfilled vacancies means that the problem is more about not having the right workers available rather than the economy not creating enough jobs", said Yael Selfin, chief economist at KPMG in London. Between the third and fourth quarters, transport, storage and communication grew by 1.1%; business services and finance were up by 0.9%; and government and other services increased by 0.2%.

Sterling was quoted 0.14% lower at 1.3889 against the US Dollar and the Pound-to-Euro rate was marked 0.24% lower at 1.1299.

By June 2017, the amount produced per hour was only 0.4 per cent larger than it had been nine years before. The estimate for industrial production in the fourth quarter was also revised lower.

On net trade, the deficit widened by £2.5 billion to £12.2 billion quarter on quarter following a hefty jump in the cost of imported fuels.

Mr Hepburn said: "While unemployment and employment have improved over the year, the slight decrease in employment and increase in unemployment levels over the most recent quarter is disappointing, which is why we recognise the need for further investment in our economy and labour market".

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