Early official numbers indicate that the economy narrowly averted recession in the second half of last year, despite growth taking a dramatic turn in December as a result of strikes and a shortage of Premier League games.
According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), output was flat at 0% from October to December.
Because the economy shrank over the preceding three months to September as the cost of living problem took a major toll on consumer spending, a negative number would have matched the precise definition of a recession.
Energy-related price pressures on consumers and businesses have generally caused economic activity to stagnate; in fact, the Bank of England even predicted that the UK was already likely in a recession in November of last year.
The small miss shows an economy that is, at best, stagnating in the face of a persistent squeeze on spending power and is susceptible to modification by the ONS as new statistics become available.
According to the ONS, output decreased by 0.5% in December compared to the prior month. Early winter snow disruptions and strikes, especially the Royal Mail dispute, also contributed to the reduction.
Businesses have noted a decline in orders throughout the month as a result of delivery uncertainty.
The survey also indicated that the World Cup had a negative effect on output, despite strong local bar sales at match screenings being attributed with increasing it in November.
Due to the World Cup in Qatar, Premier League football was suspended for a significant portion of December.
Darren Morgan, the head of economic statistics at the ONS, commented on the result, saying: “The economy shrank significantly in December, indicating that there was no growth in the economy overall throughout the final three months of 2022.
“In December, public services were impacted by lower school enrollment and fewer operations and GP visits, which were partly caused by the impact of strikes.”
Meanwhile, postal strikes and the break in Premier League football for the World Cup both contributed to a slowdown.
However, a successful month for lawyers, an increase in automobile sales, and the cold snap’s increased energy generation largely countered these declines.