The UK economy grew faster than expected in the second quarter of this year after growth was boosted by a recovery in car manufacturing and a surprising boost in June.
UK GDP rose 0.2% between April and June, up from 0.1% in the previous three months and the best quarterly reading in more than a year, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).
The numbers shocked economists, with a poll of them earlier predicting no growth in output in the quarter.
The surprisingly fast growth was helped by an unexpectedly strong performance in June, when output rose 0.5%. GDP fell 0.1% in May after growing 0.2% in April.
Darren Morgan, a director of economic statistics at the ONS, said: “The economy bounced back from the effects of the extra bank holiday in May to record strong growth in June. Manufacturing saw a particularly strong that month, with both the autos and the always-bad pharmaceutical industry seeing particularly strong growth.
“Services also had a strong month, with publishing and auto sales and legal services all doing well, although this was partly offset by a fall in health, which hit further action. on strike.
“Construction is also growing strongly, as are pubs and restaurants, both of which have been helped by the warm weather.”
Growth in manufacturing production in the latest quarter was largely driven by a 1.6% increase in manufacturing, the ONS said.
The biggest positive contribution came from the production of transport equipment, after the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders reported a 16.2% increase in car production in June 2023 compared to the same month last year.
Carmakers are suffering from a severe coronavirus pandemic, as shortages of computer chips mean they cannot produce enough cars to meet rising demand. However, by 2023 the chip shortage has subsided, allowing production to resume. UK-based manufacturers such as JLR, maker of the Jaguar and Land Rover brands, are currently working through huge backlogs of orders.