UK economy contracts by slightly less than expected in May
LONDON – Britain’s economy contracted by less than expected in May despite the impact of strikes and an extra bank holiday to mark the coronation of King Charles, putting it on track to avoid a decline for the second quarter as a whole.
Economic output fell 0.1 percent in May from April, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said, following growth of 0.2 percent in the previous month.
A Reuters poll of economists had pointed to a contraction of 0.3 percent.
All sectors of the economy contracted in May with the exception of services, which showed no growth.
The ONS said it received reports that the arts, entertainment and recreation sector had benefitted from the bank holiday, as well as hotels and restaurants.
But there were signs that strikes in the health, rail and education sectors had dragged on output.
The ONS said anything better than a 0.1-percent drop in economic output for June would put the economy on track to avoid a contraction for the second quarter as a whole.
Britain’s economy often shows some rebound in subsequent months when output is temporarily dented by extra bank holidays.