UK did not enter double-dip recession, statistics show

Double-dip recession? It never happened, official figures now show.

Widespread revisions to official data by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show that the nine-month economic contraction at the end of 2011 and the start of 2012 didn't happen, thanks to a stronger-than-reported performance from the construction sector in the first quarter of last year.

The ONS the said growth was flat in the first quarter of 2012, revised from an earlier estimate of a 0.1% contraction.

However, the ONS revealed that the initial recession following the financial crisis was far worse than first feared, with gross domestic product (GDP) now estimated to have plunged by 7.2%, against a 6.3% fall previously recorded.

The steeper 2008/09 recession means that the British economy is now even further behind its pre-crisis level, according to the ONS.

GDP is now 3.9% lower than its peak in the first quarter of 2008 - previously it was estimated to be 2.6% below.

Vicky Redwood, chief UK economist at consultancy Capital Economics, said: "Of course, more relevant are the timelier indications that the economy has continued to gather momentum in the last few weeks.

"However, the detail on first quarter 2013 GDP provides further reason to be cautious about assuming a strong recovery is getting under way."

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