UK economy returns to growth after GDP rose 0.2% in January - raising hopes country is on its way out of recession

13 March 2024, 07:20 | Updated: 13 March 2024, 07:54

The UK economy returned to growth in January, ONS data shows.
The UK economy returned to growth in January, ONS data shows. Picture: Alamy/Office for National Statistics

By Jenny Medlicott

The UK's economy grew slightly in January with GDP increasing by 0.2%, official figures show, raising hopes the country could be on its way out of a recession.

Listen to this article

Loading audio...

Figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show the UK economy grew in January by 0.2% after the country slipped into a shallow recession in the final quarter of 2023.

A strong month for retail sales helped drive growth in January, as well as improved activity for house-builders following a downturn in the housing market.

This is contrasted by a fall in the TV and film industry, pharmaceutical industry and legal services.

In the three months to January, however, GDP fell 0.1%.

It comes after the UK economy shrank 0.3% between October and December last year, officially falling into a technical recession.

GDP measures the value of goods and services produced. A recession is defined as two consecutive quarters of negative gross domestic product (GDP).

The new figures, which are subject to revision at a later date, are in line with what economists were expecting.

Read more: Keir Starmer ‘personally supports’ changing assisted dying law ‘within five years’ if Labour win next election

Read more: Hundreds of innocent sub-postmasters to have convictions quashed under new Horizon scandal law

The GDP grew by 0.2% in January, estimates from the ONS show.
The GDP grew by 0.2% in January, estimates from the ONS show. Picture: Office for National Statistics

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt said the new figure estimates are proof "we are making progress".

Mr Hunt said: “While the last few years have been tough, today’s numbers show we are making progress in growing the economy - part of which makes it possible to bring down national insurance contributions by £900 this coming year.

"But if we want the rate of growth to pick up more we need to make work pay which means ending the unfairness of taxing work twice.”

Liz McKeown, director of economics statistics at the ONS, said: "The economy picked up in January with strong growth in retail and wholesaling.

"Construction also performed well with house-builders having a good month, having been subdued for much of the last year.

"These were partially offset by falls in TV and film production, lawyers and the often-erratic pharmaceutical industry.

"Over the last three months as a whole, the economy contracted slightly."

More Latest News

See more More Latest News

Policemen guard the area as a convoy brings the suspect in shooting of Slovakia’s Prime Minister Robert Fico, to court in Pezinok

Man accused of trying to kill Slovak prime minister makes first court appearance

Climate activists have glued themselves to an airport runway

Chaos as climate activists glue themselves to runway of major airport, causing dozens of flight cancellations

An auto-rickshaw driver drinks water as he takes a break in New Delhi, India

New Delhi on high alert as parts of northern India scorched by extreme heat

The vicar was at St John the Baptist church in Sedlescombe

Former Church of England vicar in his 80s charged with raping boy

Donald Trump

‘Best president for gun owners’ Trump to address National Rifle Association

File photo of gunman in the Bamyan province of Afghanistan, where the shooting took place

Three Spanish tourists shot dead in Afghanistan, with at least one more injured after gunmen open fire

Smoke rises during protests in Noumea, New Caledonia

French authorities report sixth death in New Caledonia violence

Itzhak Gelerenter, Shani Louk and Amit Buskila

Bodies of three hostages killed at October 7 music festival recovered in Gaza

Anne Robinson has confirmed she is in a relationship with Andrew Parker Bowles

Anne Robinson reveals secret relationship with Queen Camilla's ex-husband, Andrew Parker Bowles

A member of the LGBTQ+ community holds up a sign with a message that reads 'Nothing to cure', during a protest in Lima, Peru

Protests in Peru against classification of gender identities as ‘mental illness’

Girls Aloud reunited for the first time in 11 years to pay tribute to Sarah Harding

Tears for Sarah Harding: fans pay tribute as Girls Aloud reunite for first time in 11 years

Cases of cryptosporidiosis have doubled

MP says 'heads will roll' over Devon water parasite crisis, as confirmed cryptosporidium cases double

Vera and Dan

'Why I’m taking my security into my own hands’: Brits buy guard dogs and doorbell cameras as crime concerns soar

Yvette Fielding said that Rolf Harris sexually assaulted her

Yvette Fielding claims Rolf Harris sexually assaulted her while she was hosting Blue Peter as a teenager

Rachel Reeves has said that rent caps could be allowed to be set

Labour 'could allow rent caps', Rachel Reeves says - but shadow chancellor warned that 'landlords would leave in droves'

Justice Department Boeing Explainer

Boeing shareholders approve chief’s compensation as company faces investigations