The UK economy grew above pre-pandemic levels for the first time in November, helped by momentum across all sectors before the coronavirus variant Omicron hit the country.
According to data from the Office for National Statistics, output rose 0.9 percent between October and November, up sharply from a near-stagnation in the previous month. The figure was much higher than the 0.4 percent forecast by economists polled by Reuters.
The increase has brought gross domestic product, or GDP, to 0.7 percent from its level in February 2020, before the first restrictions of Covid-19, suggesting that the economy has fully recover the economy lost during the pandemic.
All industries grew strongly. The service sector, which accounts for about 80% of the economy, expanded by 0.7%, supported by strong performance from the retail sector. Output rose more than 1% more than expected and construction rebounded 3.5% from last month’s decline.
However, the data suggest that an increase in Covid-19 infections and self-isolation is associated with the spread of the Omicron variant.
“November’s GDP gains were probably reversed in December, as Omicron dealt a blow to the consumer services sector,” said Samuel Tombs, chief UK economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics.
“The economy grew strongly last month as Omicron beat architects, retailers, couriers and accountants to a bumper month,” said Grant Fitzner, chief economist at ONS. .
He added that construction also recovered from a few months of weakness as more raw materials became easier to obtain.