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Bleak prospects for 2023 despite surprise November GDP increase

Author: ICAEW Insights

Published: 13 Jan 2023

Latest official estimate confirms that the UK economy surprisingly grew in November as the boost to consumer activity from the Qatar World Cup helped lift overall activity.

The monthly GDP figures released on Friday 13 January 2023 by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) reported that UK gross domestic product (GDP) is estimated to have increased by 0.1% in November 2022. after growth of 0.5% in October. Monthly GDP is now estimated to be 0.3% lower than its pre-coronavirus levels (February 2020). The three-month-on-three-month growth measure (a better measure of the underlying trend) remains on a recessionary path, with GDP declining by 0.3% in the three months to November compared with the previous three-month period.


Services grew by 0.2% in November. The main driver of services growth was administrative and support activities, which grew by 2.0%, following growth of 1.7% in October. All six industries within this subsector saw growth on the month; employment activities, with growth of 2.1%, gave the largest contribution. Output in consumer-facing services firms grew by 0.4% in November, following growth of 1.5% in October. The largest contribution to growth came from food and beverage service activities amid the start of the World Cup in Qatar.


Transportation and storage fell by 2.7% in November and had the largest negative contribution to services output. Strikes took place in the rail transport and postal and courier activities industries in the month, which saw falls of 4.7% and 3.1% respectively.

Production output

Production output fell by 0.2% in November, after a downwardly revised fall of 0.1% in October. The fall in manufacturing was the largest contributor to the production sector’s negative growth, falling 0.5% in the month. Monthly construction output saw flat growth in November, following an increase of 0.4% in October 2022.

Commenting on the latest ONS GDP figures, Suren Thiru, Economies Director at ICAEW, said: “This surprising GDP bounce suggests that the economy is proving more resilient than many had feared. A strong boost to consumer activity from the World Cup helped lift overall activity. 

“The positive November outturn delays rather than diminishes the prospect of recession with soaring inflation, higher unemployment, rising interest rates and taxes likely to suffocate activity for much of this year.”

For further information, read the ONS Monthly GDP estimate.

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