UK economic growth slows in May

20 July, 2021

Despite a rebound in the hospitality sector, the UK's economy grew more slowly than expected in May 2021 with the positive results of the hospitality rebound being offset by disruptions to car production.

As a result of the easing of restrictions that saw pubs and restaurants return to serving indoors, the economy expanded by 0.8% in May – the fourth consecutive month of growth. Growth rates however slowed from the 2% growth seen in April.

The Office for National Statistics is reporting that the economy is still 3.1% below pre-pandemic levels.

Accommodation and food services grew by 37.1% in May, with the overall services sector growing 0.9%.

But UK carmakers were hit with a shortage of microchips, with the manufacture of transport equipment falling by 16.5%.

The very wet weather in May affected construction as firms lost working days, although the ONS said the sector remained 0.3% above February 2020's pre-pandemic level.

British Chambers of Commerce head of economics Suren Thiru said: "While the latest figures confirm the rebound in economic activity continued into May, the sharp slowdown in growth suggests that the recovery is losing a little steam as the temporary boost, from the earlier phases of reopening, fades."

Overall, in the three months to May, economic output rose by 3.6%, helped by strong retail sales, and as pubs, restaurants and schools reopened from March.

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