UK economy shrank 2.9% in January amid lockdown

The UK economy contracted by 2.9% in January amid lockdown measures, according to figures from the Office for National Statistics.

The economy is 9% smaller than it was before the start of the coronavirus pandemic.

The ONS said January’s fall was a “notable hit” albeit smaller than some had expected.

Retailers, restaurants, schools and hairdressers were all affected by the latest lockdown.

“Manufacturing also saw its first decline since April with car manufacturing falling significantly,” said Jonathan Athow from the ONS.”However, increases in health services from both vaccine rollout and increased testing partially offset the declines in other industries.”He also pointed to a fall in both imports and exports to the EU, which fell “markedly” in January.

He said that much of this was “likely the result of temporary factors. Returns from our more timely surveys and other indicators suggest trading began to recover towards the end of the month”.

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