The UK’s economy bounced back from recession with a record growth of 15.5% in July to September, figures indicate.
The return to growth comes after a six-month slump induced by the first coronavirus lockdown.
However, the expansion was not enough to reverse the damage caused by the pandemic.
The country’s economy is still 8.2% smaller than before the virus struck, said the Office for National Statistics (ONS).
Analysts warned that it was likely to shrink again in the final three months of the year because of the impact of renewed lockdowns in different parts of the country.
A second lockdown began in England on 5 November and is due to finish on 2 December.
What recent evidence do we have?
In September, growth was 1.1%, marking the fifth consecutive month of expansion. However, that was weaker than the levels seen in previous months.
“While all main sectors of the economy continued to recover, the rate of growth slowed again, with the economy still remaining well below its pre-pandemic peak,” said Jonathan Athow, deputy national statistician for economic statistics at the ONS.
“The return of children to school boosted activity in the education sector. Housebuilding also continued to recover, while business strengthened for lawyers and accountants after a poor August.
“However, pubs and restaurants saw less business after the Eat Out to Help Out scheme ended and accommodation saw less business after a successful summer.”
In another sign of the impact of the pandemic on the economy, figures released on Tuesday showed the unemployment rate rose to 4.8% in the three months to September, up from 4.5%.
The number of people out of work rose by 243,000 in the three-month period, the largest increase since May 2009.