UK economic growth slows for sixth consecutive month

The sun rises over the Parliament Square, in London, Saturday, Dec. 5, 2020. (AP Photo/Alberto Pezzali)
The sun rises over the Parliament Square, in London, Saturday, Dec. 5, 2020. (AP Photo/Alberto Pezzali) (Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

LONDON – Britain’s economic growth slowed for a sixth consecutive month in October as the coronavirus pandemic continued to hammer hotels, restaurants and pubs.

The Office for National Statistics said Thursday that gross domestic product expanded 0.4% in October from a month earlier. The economy is expected to slow sharply after that as a resurgence in coronavirus cases led to the closure of more shops and businesses nationwide.

While GDP has expanded in each of the past six months, the recovery has slowed every month. The economy is still 7.9% smaller than it was before the pandemic.

Industries from manufacturing to health services, retail and education expanded during in October, but the hospitality sector suffered as government-imposed restrictions and concern about COVID-19 kept people away from bars and restaurants and virtually shut down tourism.

The hospitality industry shrank 14.4% in the month, the ONS said. Without the decline in accommodation and food and beverage services, GDP would have grown 1.3% in October.