THE UK economy returned to growth in August after suffering a dip in July.
According to the latest official figures, UK gross domestic product grew 0.4% in August in the first full month after Covid-19 restrictions were lifted.
It remains 0.8% below February 2020 levels, before the pandemic began.
The economy resumed its recovery after suffering a 0.1% drop in July.
The Office for National Statistics previously estimated growth of 0.1% for July, but that has since been revised down.
However, other recent data revisions for earlier in the year make the economy much closer to its pre-pandemic size than when the last set of monthly GDP data was released.
Darren Morgan, director of economic statistics at the ONS, said: “The economy picked up in August as bars, restaurants and festivals benefited from the first full month without Covid-19 restrictions in England.
“This was offset by falls in health activity with fewer people visiting GPs and less testing and tracing.
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“However, later and slightly weaker data from a number of industries now mean we estimate the economy fell a little overall in July.”
Britain’s economy expanded rapidly in the first half of 2021 helped by the fast initial roll-out of COVID-19 vaccines.
But this has slowed due to a wave of coronavirus cases and global supply chain chaos.
Growth in the three months to August slowed to its weakest since April at 2.9%.
Chip shortages which had hampered carmakers eased in August, the ONS said, helping manufacturing return to growth.
However, car output was still more than 14% below a peak in February.
Supply-chain shortages were worst construction, where output fell for a second month in a row due to rising costs and shortages of steel, concrete, timber and glass.
The economy is also likely to have taken a further hit in September from temporary shortages of fuel at many petrol stations in England – caused by a lack of tanker drivers – and the impact of a surge in natural gas prices.
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