Data published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) showed that gross domestic product stabilized in February after growing by 0.4% in January (revised from +0.3%). Economists had expected the economy to expand by 0.1%. In annual terms, GDP growth accelerated to 0.5% from 0.4% in January (revised from 0%), and exceeded experts' forecasts (+0.3%). Meanwhile, over the last three months (through February), the economy grew by 0.1%.
The ONS said that in February the services sector fell by 0.1%, following an increase of 0.7% in January (revised from +0.5%). The largest contributions to the fall came from education and public administration and defense; compulsory social security, industrial action took place in both of these industries in February 2023. Meanwhile, the volume of production in the consumer services sector increased by 0.4%, accelerating compared to January (+0.3%).
The report also showed that industrial production decreased by 0.2% in February after falling by 0.5% in January (revised from -0.3%). Economists had expected an increase of 0.2%. Electricity, gas, steam and air conditioning supply fell by 2.2% and was the largest contributor to the fall in February. In annual terms, the decline in industrial production slowed to 3.1% from 3.2% in January (revised from -4.3%). Consensus estimates suggested a 3.7% drop. Meanwhile, the construction sector grew by 2.4%, after falling by 1.7% in January. February saw the highest monthly value in level terms since records began in 2010. The increase in monthly construction output came from increases in both repair and maintenance (+4.5%) and new work (+1.1%) on the month.