A services sector rally has avoided a triple dip recession in the UK, according to business group the British Chamber of Commerce.
The business organisation (BCC), which has about 92,000 member companies in Britain, attributes a modest but important pick-up in the first quarter of 2013 to the services sector performance.
The survey, which polls more than 7,000 companies, also showed improvements in the manufacturing sector. However it said employment had weakened.
A low pound – the pound is worth about Eu1.84 today – has also given exports a boost, the survey shows.
The results suggested the economy has continued to grow in the first three months of 2013, said David Kern, the organisation’s chief economist.
The Office for National Statistics has already provided figures showing the UK services sector grew by 0.8% in January year-on-year, although official gross domestic product (GDP) figures for Q1 2013 are published later this month.
“If an announcement of negative growth in the first quarter is misleadingly described as a triple-dip recession, confidence will again be damaged unnecessarily.”
He added that the survey reinforces BCC’s assessment that recent GDP published by the Office for National Statistics “have exaggerated the weakness of the UK economy and the volatility in output.”.
The BCC’s reckoning is that if growth in the services sector in Q1 will have offset poorer performance in manufacturing and construction, avoiding the economy passing into another technical recession.
Director general of the BCC John Longworth said “These results provide a glimpse of the as-yet-distant sunlit uplands of recovery,” but warned of a “long and tortuous road to recovery”.