Gross domestic product (GDP) has surpassed its pre-pandemic level for the first time as it grew by 0.9% in November 2021, according to the latest Office for National Statistics (ONS) data.
In the latest release, output in consumer-facing services grew by 0.8%, mainly because of a 1.4% increase in retail trade, while all other services rose by 0.6%.
However, consumer-facing services are still 5% below their pre-coronavirus levels, while all other services remained 2.9% above.
Meanwhile transport and storage grew by 3.8% and was the second largest contributor to November’s growth in services.
This strength was driven by increased retail activity during this period, because of ”stronger than usual” Black Friday sales and the build-up to Christmas.
Alpesh Paleja, lead economist, CBI, said: “While it’s good that economic growth picked up in November, the data has been overtaken by events.
“As we kick off the new year, the near-term outlook is also clouded by additional challenges: shortages of labour – exacerbated by sickness absence, supply chain disruption and a cost of living crunch for households.”
She added: “Implementing Plan B in December was the right thing to do, but with Covid clearly here to stay, the government must now act to prevent the need for further restrictions on activity.”