UK economy grows at surprise 0.5%

There are still underlying weaknesses in the economy despite improved growth

The UK economy saw a growth of 0.5% in its GDP for the third quarter of 2011, according to the Office of National Statistics (ONS).

This growth was higher than Q2’s growth, which stood at 0.1%.

But Q2 had been hampered by a number of one-off factors, such as an extended bank holiday for the royal wedding and the Japanese tsunami/earthquake, and therefore the growth between quarters should not seen as a big bounce back.

In fact, economists were quick to point out that the growth being ‘only’ 0.5% underlines a predominantly weak overall economic picture.

The best individual sector figures sawservice sector growth reach 0.7%, up from 0.2% in Q2, whilst the production sector saw a rise of 0.5%, up from a 1.2% fall.

The news came as the results of a worldwide survey revealed that British consumers are amongst the most pessimistic in the world. Only 8% of Brits expected ‘good’ or ‘mostly good’ times over the next year, and also over the next 5 years. 52% were expecting ‘bad’ or ‘mostly bad’ times.

Only the Japanese could top Brits on pessimistic outlooks out of the 25 countries surveyed, as the ‘richer’ nations generally proved to be the most accepting that a bleak short-term future is to come.