£488 million of govt capital investment unlocked
This note provides some wider economic analysis to support the Statistical Bulletin relating to the latest GDP release and other major economic releases during the latest month. By drawing on the wider array of economic releases surrounding the GDP release, for example the labour market, trade, retail sales and inflation releases, this note attempts to provide a more comprehensive picture of how the economy has performed in the latest quarter and, where relevant, the latest month.
GDP contracted by 0.2 per cent in the first quarter of 2012, the second successive period of negative economic growth. The fall in real GDP was driven primarily by weakness in the construction sector, where output is estimated to have fallen by 3 per cent between the two latest quarters. But the dominant services sector of the economy grew only slowly while industrial production fell slightly.
The economy has shown no growth over the past year and has recovered less than half the output lost during the recession in 2008 and 2009.
The labour market showed some signs of improvement with a small rise in employment in the latest period and a slight drop in unemployment. However the rise in employment was entirely among part time workers, with a drop in the number of people employed full time.
Growth in retail sales volumes picked up in March but this was boosted by purchases of fuel at the end of the month, as well as the effect of unseasonably warm weather.
Real earnings continue to decline as a result of the combination of a further decline in average earnings growth and a slight pick-up in consumer price inflation.