Elimination of COVID-19 restrictions boosts UK economy

As official figures show, the UK economy grew rapidly in August as all COVID-19 restrictions were lifted, boosting the services sector.

The British government lifted all blockade restrictions in the UK on 19 July, and August was the first full month without the COVID-19 curb.

The National Bureau of Statistics of China (ONS) said on Wednesday that monthly gross domestic product (GDP) increased by 0.4% between July and August. This means that the economy is 0.8% smaller than it was before the COVID-19 pandemic. It was caused by the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus, also known as the new coronavirus.

Darren Morgan, director of economic statistics at ONS, said:

GDP growth was driven by a 0.3% month-on-month increase in services, but the sector was 0.6% below February 2020 levels.

The biggest contribution to the economy came from the accommodation and food service industries, which accounted for 0.28 percentage points of positive GDP growth. Art, entertainment and recreation also contributed 0.13 percentage points.

The sports, amusement park and recreation industries have exceeded February 2020 levels as theme parks and amusement parks have reopened and fans have returned to football games.

However, the data show further signs that recovery is mitigating at the expense of labor shortages and global supply chain problems.

ONS said respondents to monthly business surveys suggested that labor shortages continued in many different sub-industries, suggesting that truck driver shortages were particularly prevalent.

In the second quarter, GDP rose 5.5% and growth recovered strongly, but the subsequent recovery was sluggish, with supply chain problems and the truck driver crisis restraining the economy.

According to ONS data, production in the construction sector fell for the second straight month, down 0.2% in August, following a 1% decline in July. This is because supply problems have led to shortages of key materials and soaring prices.

The construction sector, which recovered 0.9% above pre-pandemic levels in April, is now 1.5% below pre-pandemic levels.

ONS added that the July contraction was partly due to the difficulties of the automotive manufacturing industry, which was affected by the global shortage of microchips.

PA contributed to this report.

Alexander Chan


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