THE UK economy shrank more than expected in July, driven by strike action by NHS workers and teachers, according to official figures.
Wet weather also hit the construction and retail industries, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said, causing the economy to contract by 0.5%.
The figures were worse than analysts had predicted and continue a trend of weak economic growth in the UK.
But the ONS said the “broader picture” for the country looked “more positive”.
Darren Morgan, director of economic statistics at the ONS, said that while July saw the economy shrink, output across the services, production and construction sectors was growing in the three months to July.
He said despite the UK being hit by strike action and poor weather this summer, “a busy schedule of sporting events and increased theme park visits provided a slight boost” to the economy.
The figure produced by the ONS to show the health of the UK economy is known as gross domestic product (GDP).
GDP is a measure – or an attempt to measure – all the activity of companies, governments and individuals in a country and is watched closely by the government and businesses.
If the figure is increasing, it means the economy is growing and people are doing more work and getting a little bit richer, on average.
But if GDP is falling, then the economy is shrinking which can be bad news for businesses. If GDP falls for two quarters in a row, it is typically defined as a economic recession.
The UK is currently not in recession, but there have been concerns over its weak economic growth in recent months.