The UK economy unexpectedly grew by 0.1% thanks to strong services

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LONDON (TBEN) — The UK economy grew unexpectedly in November as the tight labor market boosted job placement demand and the World Cup boosted hospitality.

Gross domestic product, the broadest measure of economic activity, rose 0.1% from the previous month, the Office for National Statistics said Friday. That beat economists’ expectations, which had predicted a contraction of 0.2%.

Despite the better-than-expected numbers, the ONS says monthly GDP estimates should be treated with caution, as they are more volatile than quarterly data.

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Economists await the release of fourth-quarter GDP data next month, which will show whether the UK economy contracted for a second consecutive quarter in the three months to December. Two quarters of negative growth is one definition of a recession.

November’s expansion was driven by a 2% growth in administrative and support activities, while job placement services grew 2.1%, the ONS said. Overall, service sectors account for about 80% of the UK economy.

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Customer-facing activities were up 0.4%, led by a 2.2% increase in food and beverage outlets as the World Cup kicked off.

Growth in the services sector offset a 0.2% decline in output from manufacturing industries, the ONS said.

Manufacturing fell 0.5% in November and construction activity stagnated in the month.