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UK GDP grows by 0.8% in May 2021

Gross domestic product (GDP) grew by 0.8% in May 2021 as COVID-19 restrictions continued to ease, bringing GDP to just 3.1% below its pre-pandemic February 2020 levels.

This was the fourth consecutive month of growth, although it was slower than what the UK saw in March (2.4%) and April (2.0%), according to data released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

May's growth was especially driven by a 3.1% growth in the customer facing service sector as the UK continued down its roadmap to restriction-free living, marking the sector's biggest recovery since February 2020.

Noticeably, 17 May saw indoor venues such as pubs and restaurants welcoming guests to be seated indoors, having previously been restricted to outdoor service only.

Jonathan Athow, deputy national statistician for economic statistics at the ONS, added that "hotels also saw a marked recovery as restrictions lifted".

Meanwhile, the production sector grew by 0.8% in May 2021, driven mainly by a 5.7% drive in electricity, gas, steam and air conditioning supply, while repair and maintenance, and new work fell by 1.6% and 0.3% respectively.

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