UK economy remains 3.1% smaller than pre-pandemic level

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FILE – In this May 18, 2021 file photo, people eat tables outside a restaurant in Chinatown, London, as coronavirus rules were relaxed across the country. Official figures released Friday, July 9, 2021 show that the British economy rebounded further in May following another easing of lockdown restrictions, though the increase was about half that expected by economists. (AP Photo/Alberto Pezzali, file)

LONDON (AP) — Official figures show that the British economy rebounded further in May following another easing of lockdown restrictions, though the increase was about half that expected by economists.

The Office for National Statistics said Friday that the economy grew by 0.8% during May. The growth was largely driven by the services sector, which reported 0.9% growth after a raft of hospitality, leisure and arts firms were able to reopen due to the relaxation of restrictions in England on May 17.

Though the British economy has now grown for four months in a row, May’s increase was lower than April’s 2.3% and below market expectations for a 1.5% rise.

Despite the run of growth, the British economy remains 3.1% smaller than it was in February 2020, the month before the government first put lockdown measures in place to try to contain the coronavirus.

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