UK Economy Closer to Pre-Pandemic Levels

Britain’s economy has recovered from the pandemic faster than initially expected despite a slowdown in growth during the third quarter.

The U.K.’s gross domestic product is now 1.5 percent below its pre-COVID-19 level in 2019, an improvement from the previous estimate of a 2.1 percent shortfall, according to data from the Office for National Statistics.

An increase in output from the hospitality, and arts, entertainment and recreation sectors after COVID-19 restrictions had eased were main drivers of the improvement in growth. Household consumption had also increased and made the largest contribution to expenditure.

The dip in last year’s GDP is now estimated to be 9.4 percent, less than a previous estimate of negative 9.7 percent, although the figure remains the largest contraction since 1921.

Compared to other major economies, however, the U.K.’s economy is still unlikely to return to its pre-pandemic size due to supply shortages. The government has refused to further ease restrictions that will loosen supply bottlenecks to avoid overwhelming health services.

The economy of the U.S. had already returned to its pre-COVID-19 size and is set to be followed by France at the end of the fourth quarter.

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