UK economic growth slows amid manufacturing and construction slump

UK economic growth slows amid manufacturing and construction slump

The UK economy slowed in the first quarter of this year following a slump in the manufacturing and construction industries.

The UK Office for National Statistics (ONS) said gross domestic product (GDP) grew by 0.4% in the first three months of 2016, down from 0.6% in the fourth quarter of last year.

The downward impact on growth was driven in part by a poor performance from the manufacturing industry, which fell by 0.4% in the first three months of the year compared with a 0.1% rise in the quarter before. Overall production was down 0.4% between January and March.

The construction industry also dropped back in the first quarter, falling 0.9% compared with an increase of 0.3% in the fourth quarter.

But Britain's dominant services sector, which accounts for more than 78% of the UK economy, made strong ground, lifting 0.6% in the first quarter.

It came as the index for services showed that output increased by 0.1% between January and February this year, the same level of growth as between December and January after the ONS revised down its figure by 0.1 percentage points.

ONS chief economist Joe Grice said its initial estimate for first quarter GDP showed the UK economy had slowed down.

He added: "Today's figures suggest growth has slowed as compared with the pace up to the middle of last year.

"Services continue to underpin the economy but other sectors have shown falling output this quarter."

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