The first estimate of the UK’s economic growth for the first quarter of this year is out – and despite missing analysts’ expectations of 1 per cent growth, it’s good news for the Coalition, with the size of the economy increasing by 0.8 per cent. Manufacturing output was up 1.3 per cent, and services output up 0.9 per cent – but growth in services (the dominant sector of the UK’s economy) made up most of the increase.
But this is only a first estimate, and the figure is subject to revision. Since the crash, GDP figures have been revised by an average of 0.26 percentage points between their first and most recent estimates. There’s around a two-thirds chance that the true figure was between around 0.55 and 1.05 per cent.
Where does it leave the recovery? We’re still 0.6 per cent below the peak in the first quarter of 2008 – but with another quarter of strong growth (at the March Budget the OBR forecast 0.7 per cent growth for Q2 this year), we’ll be past it. But there’s opportunity for Ed Miliband, too: in per capita terms, GDP if five per cent below peak and we’re still in the depths of the crisis.