UK economy finally recovers to pre-crisis size

Shoppers have helped drive Britain's economy back to where it was before the health crisis began.

New numbers Friday (January 15) showed growth of 0.9% in November.

That was more than double economist forecasts.

And it took GDP back above its level in February 2020.

Britain's economy went on to shrink 9% that year as lockdowns bit hard.

That was one of the biggest slumps among rich-world nations.

November's gain was partly driven by early Christmas shopping.

Construction also recovered from several weak months.

The current situation still looks uncertain, however.

GDP is expected to take a fresh hit in December amid resurgent health worries.

Data earlier this week showed record levels of staff absences around the turn of the year.

But health experts say the latest wave may have peaked, and analysts say the blow to the economy should be short lived.

Now the main risk to growth may be soaring prices.

Inflation is predicted to hit a 30-year high of 6% or more in April, driven partly by higher energy costs.

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