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PwC comments on ONS November GDP figures

14 Jan 2022

Jonathan Gillham, Chief Economist at PwC UK says,

"November’s data has surprised on the upside. Growth is coming in strongly at 0.9% for the month and has taken the economy past its February 2020 pre-Covid level by 0.7%. 

"There were strong performances from consumer facing sectors and a bumper black Friday helped drive the economy forwards (almost 27% of retail sales were made online in November). The construction sector grew at 3.5%, benefitting from milder weather conditions and an easing of supply chain pressures. 

"In fact, there was a general theme in the data around easing of supply problems, which have held the economy back throughout the Covid crisis. Hopefully this will be sustained and the recovery can push on. 

"However, the rapid acceleration of the Omicron variant throughout December and January may well put the brakes on the recovery. The hospitality industry was hit hard (again) by the rise in Covid-19 cases and the introduction of Plan B measures. Rises in sickness absence will also hit underlying productivity measures. 

"While we are not out of the woods yet, today’s data should give some optimism to the general public, businesses and policymakers that some of the fundamental barriers that were constraining economic growth are starting to ease off."

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David Bowden

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