UK Economy Expanded in January After Services Sector Rebounded


By Ed Frankl

The U.K. economy rebounded in January, driven by a resurgent services sector, helped by the easing of strike action and the return of top-level soccer at the start of the year.

The country’s gross domestic product expanded 0.3% in the first month of 2023 compared with the prior one, from a 0.5% fall in December, data from the Office for National Statistics showed Friday.

It matched a poll of economists by The Wall Street Journal, which also expected the economy to expand 0.3%.

However, the U.K.’s GDP was flat in the three months to January 2023, with monthly GDP now estimated to be 0.2% below pre-coronavirus levels, the ONS said.

The on-month growth was driven by the services sector, which grew 0.5%, after tumbling 0.8% in December. The largest drivers were in education–as school attendance returned–transport and storage, human health activities, and arts, all of which rebounded from falls in the prior month.

Strikes had impacted the transport industry in December, while sports activities rebounded after the return of Premier League football, which was paused for the World Cup, the ONS said.

Industrial production, however, decreased 0.3%, weighed by falling manufacturing output, according to ONS data.

Despite the rise, economists still expect the U.K. economy to contract in the first quarter, weighed by elevated interest rates that curb household spending and investments and a labor shortage that could stifle growth.

Write to Ed Frankl at




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