Positive GDP surprise but underlying growth still low

Olympics revenue alone added 0.2 percent to GDP. Photo: PA

So the Prime Minister was right.

As he appeared to let slip at Prime Minister's question time yesterday, the economy has finally eased out of the double-dip recession in the third quarter of the year.

But it's too soon to hang the jubilee bunting back up because this is very anaemic growth.

The official GDP figure is 1 per cent.

City economists were expecting 0.6 per cent, so this is a positive surprise.

But much of this growth is down to one-off factors like an extra working day compared with the previous quarter when we had that jubilee bank holiday.

The country spending an extra day at work adds half a percentage point alone.

Add to this the ticket sales, sponsorship and television rights associated with the Olympic and Paralympic Games which are included in the third quarter's figure, adding another 0.2 percentage points or so, and it takes the temporary effects total 0.7 percent.

Underlying growth, then, is a rather less impressive 0.3 per cent - the economy is still bumping along the bottom.