UK GDP figures: As it happened - news and reaction

Key Points

  • The UK economy grew by 1.0% between July and September, more than economists had expected
  • Prime Minister David Cameron said the economy was "on the right track"
  • Shadow chancellor Ed Balls said the economy was "flatlining" and only back to the same size it was a year ago
  • The economy got a one-off boost from ticket sales for the Olympic and Paralympic Games
  • GDP, or gross domestic product, is the sum of all goods and services produced in the economy

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    Good morning and welcome to our live coverage of the release of the GDP figures which will tell us whether the economy was growing or shrinking between July and September.


    If the figure is positive, it means the economy expanded for the first time this year, but the figures come with a warning: they include a one-off boost from the sale of Olympic and Paralympic ticket sales and may be flattered by comparison with the previous period which included Jublilee-related days off.


    GDP, which stands for gross domestic product, is the sum of all goods and services made in the economy. Before things kick off, you might want to check out our Q&A on GDP - what is it and why it matters.

    0841: Tim Oldfield in Burnley

    writes: As co-owner of an independent regional recruitment company based in East Lancashire, I think the word 'choppy' best describes this year. Without doubt the extra Bank Holiday last quarter had a big impact, though regionally the Olympics had less effect - in fact we only saw business levels surge once the Olympics and Paralympics had finished. Locally, there are flat spots and hot spots, but overall we see positive signs with companies generally looking to expand and take on staff.


    The company which made the Games torches, the Premier Group in Coventry, perhaps unsurprisingly says it has had a great year and hopes it will get better.


    Britain's GDP has grown by an average of 0.6% since the 1950s. But not recently, with output shrinking in the first half of this year, leaving the economy slightly smaller than it was in July 2010.


    The average forecast of city economists is that the ONS will announce growth in the third quarter (that is, July to September) of close to that long-term average of 0.6%.

    0849: Norman Smith Chief political correspondent, BBC News Channel

    tweets: CBI boss John Cridland says divided economy not a north/south split - but a London/Rest of the country split. #gdp


    Meanwhile, Prime Minister David Cameron hinted yesterday we could expect some good news today. Some have suggested he should not have said anything because he would have privileged access to the data along with a small number of ministers and civil servants. The rest of us will have to wait and see. Not long, now though.


    Commenting on Mr Cameron's remarks, Jonathan Portas, director for the National Institute for Economic and Social Research said: "What I think this illustrates is that the system at the moment doesn't really work very well, because how could he be expected to put those figures out of his mind during prime minister's question time?"


    Mr Portas added: "It actually exposes him to the risk of being accused of behaving improperly because he can see the figures in advance. So it's not good for him, but it's not good for general trust in official figures either."


    Downing Street did not confirm whether the prime minister had seen the figures and said his remark was just a general reference to other good news on the economy, such as lower-than-expected government borrowing and the falling rate of inflation.


    While the PM thinks the economic situation is improving, Ford is expected to announce later that it is shutting its Transit van factory in Southampton with the loss of 500 jobs.

    0903: Jeremy Warner Daily Telegraph

    tweets: Ignore today's upbeat GDP figures. Regrettably, living standards are set to keep on falling. My Telegraph column


    A quick update - we're looking forward to the release of the GDP figures at 09:30 BST, which will indicate whether the UK grew in the third quarter of this year and if the country is now coming out of its double-dip recession.


    Note: A recession is technically classed as two consecutive quarters of negative growth. Please get in touch if you have any questions or comments on the figures.


    For more background on the GDP figures and what they will mean for the UK, have a read of the BBC's main news story.

    0913: Alex Hamilton Retail analyst

    tweets: Whatever the Q/Q GDP expansion is today, the UK economy is still stuck in an extremely low gear #goingthroughthemotions #UK #GDP

    0918: Geoff Ho, Deputy City Editor, Sunday Express

    tweets: We should officially be out of recession today. However GDP for the year will still be negative and the recovery is likely to be weak.


    Some warn that even if the figures are positive, it may be too early to herald a recovery. With the one-off boost from the Olympics, the economy may start contracting again towards the end of the year. But let's not get ahead of ourselves.

    0923: Dave Harvey Business Correspondent, BBC West

    "If there is a recovery, it is a shiny high-tech recovery. I've lost count of the times proud engineers have told me I could eat my lunch off the floor in their factory, it's that clean. Dotted across the west of England are small firms making specialised kit for aircraft, for cars, for satellites. Airbus and Boeing are both doing a roaring trade, sustaining around 50,000 jobs in this part of the world."


    Have a look at how the financial markets react to UK's GDP figures on the BBC's market data page. (Prices are 15 minutes delayed)

    0927: Norman Smith Chief political correspondent, BBC News Channel

    What do positive GDP figures mean politically? Our correspondent says there will be a huge exhilation of relief in government if there has been growth. But ministers will not want to go around fuelling headlines about green shoots in the economy - they will have to dampen expectations slightly because they know things will still be tough.


    The ONS are getting ready to announce the figures at a news conference. Not long now.


    Today's GDP figures (standing for gross domestic product) will take into account the value of everything produced in the economy in the three months from July to September - so they will include any boost to the economy from the Olympic Games. Ticket sales for the Olympics and Paralympics will be included.

    0930: Breaking News

    The UK economy grew by 1.0% between July and September, compared with the previous three months, official figures say.


    In terms of different sectors, production, which includes manufacturing grew 1.1%, service sector by 1.3% and construction fell by 2.5%.


    The figures were affected by the extra Diamond Jubilee holiday and the Olympic Games - the ONS has said.

    Justin Urquhart Stewart, 7 Investment Management

    tweets: Construction sector GDP still poor. Needs building initiative


    The ONS says 2007 was the last time we had such fast growth.


    On David Cameron's hinting of good news in the House of Commons yesterday, Joe Grice, director of the ONS says any breaches of the rules on pre-release are a matter that is dealt with by the UK Statistics Authority - and not by the ONS.


    If you want to read the release from the Office for National Statistics in full it is here.


    There has been some strength in employment activities and transport in the third quarter, the ONS says, due in part to the Olympics.


    Joe Grice, the man from the ONS, is asked about Bank of England governor Sir Mervyn King's prediction that the economy will zig-zag between growth and shrinkage. He says he won't make any forecasts, but we should look at the longer-term trend and not read too much into one set of figures.

    0943: Phil Georgiadis, Journalist at Dow Jones/Wall St Journal

    tweets: There was actually an audible whoop in the newsroom when those GDP figures came through. I think it was ironic.


    There is no overall figure on what the GDP figure would have been without the impact of exceptional circumstances - including the Olympics, the Diamond Jubilee and recent bad weather. More details can be found on the ONS website.

    HM Treasury

    Has posted a series of tweets:

    • 1/4 Chancellor: "There is still a long way to go but these figures show we're on the right track and are a sign the economy is healing" #GDP
    • 2/4 "We've cut the deficit by 1/4, over 1m jobs have been created in the private sector, inflation is down and the economy is growing" #GDP
    • 3/4 "Yesterday's weak data from the eurozone were a reminder that we still face many economic challenges at home and abroad." #GDP
    • 4/4 "By continuing to take tough decisions to deal with debt & equip our economy we are laying the foundations for lasting prosperity." #GDP

    Economist Amit Kara from UBS says: "It's good news that we wiped out all the output loss from the previous three quarters but it's obvious that the bounceback is because of one-off factors and as such, the underlying story is still very weak. What's also slightly concerning is the output loss on the construction sector this year."


    "Looking forward we only expect a very modest GDP growth into 2013," economist Amit Kara says.

    0951: Phil Coleman of Barlow Blinds

    tweets: 1% increase in GDP. Were out of recession and things are looking better ! Some good news at last.


    Within half an hour of the news, economists are already looking ahead: "It won't be plain sailing from now on," says Vicky Redwood at Capital Economics. "As the Olympic effects unwind, it is still possible that the economy contracts again in Q4.

    0956: David Cameron UK Prime Minister

    tweets: There is still much to do, but these #GDP figures show we are on the right track, and our economy is healing.

    0956: Norman Smith Chief political correspondent, BBC News Channel

    Our correspondent says Prime Minister David Cameron will not get much of a ticking off over his possible hinting at the GDP figures in the House of Commons yesterday.


    Looking at the details, the ONS says Olympic and Paralympic ticket sales were estimated to have increased GDP by about 0.2 percentage points.


    It's good news on the GDP front, but austerity measures are continuing. In other news today, the work and pensions secretary has announced child-related benefits for families may be capped at two children. Iain Duncan Smith says stopping the current system, where families get more benefits the more children they have, was part of sweeping changes planned.

    1002: Paul Theron, CEO of Vestact

    tweets: Strong UK GDP number reported. How many of you still think that the global economy is going down the drain? Still in cash? #pessimism


    There was "very little evidence of any significant Olympic effect" on retailers, the ONS said. Some online retailers told them sales were lower as consumers watched the Olympics instead of shopping online.


    A bit more reaction from City experts: Sarah Hewin, senior economist from Standard Chartered Bank, says the figures are better than expected but the "underlying situation of the economy is probably closer to a 0.2% - 0.3% quarterly growth".

    1006: Robert Peston Business editor

    tweets: I suspect Treasury would have liked GDP figure to have been less strong. Risk of return to stagnation after big one-offs drop out.


    Speaking to BBC News, Ms Hewin goes on: "We also have to be wary that some of the more recent data has shown some signs of weakness. We had factory orders data yesterday from the CBI which were very disappointing. So it's very good news for the third quarter, but I think we have to be cautious about hoping it can continue on in the coming months."


    Are we through the worst? "I hope so," Treasury minister Sajid Javid tells BBC News. "But we need to be cautious," he adds.


    The markets have been reacting to the GDP figures: FTSE 100 index is up by just 23 points, so the markets are yet to react in a strong way. See more market reaction here.


    It is probably worth pointing out that the 1% GDP figure could change. It is an early estimate that includes educated guesswork. The ONS works out GDP by gathering information from thousands of businesses across the UK, and as more data in, the picture could change.


    "GDP almost returns to the level it was before Osborne's double-dip - as for the economy finally regrowing back to the size it was in 2008, well, there's a long way to go," according to the New Statesman.


    More on that Games effect: Ticket sales for both the Olympics and Paralympics generated £580m, the ONS said. Sectors from transport to hotels and what it calls the creative arts also benefited.

    1024: The Spectator Magazine

    tweets: Today's GDP figure makes it a lot easier for the coalition to claim that the economy is 'healing', says @JGForsyth


    We shouldn't forget what the ONS calls the bounceback effect flattering this quarter's figures. The fact that there was terrible weather in between April and June and many people had an extra Jubilee-related day off makes the most recent period look better in comparison.

    1030: Andrew Neil BBC Daily Politics presenter

    tweets: 1% GDP growth in Q3 much higher than expected. But in past 51 years, just 12 of 205 first stabs at growth figs have survived later revision


    Prime Minister David Cameron has been visiting a factory in South London today and has commented on the GDP figures, saying: "We still have a long way to go and there are still difficulties ahead, but I think these figures do show that we are on the right track."

    1032: Chris Sutherwood, Cardiff

    writes: So does this mean the UK is coming out of recession or that London is? Seriously guys, wake up and smell the coffee (if you can afford it) most parts of the UK are still deep in it. Take a look at Newport town centre, around 60% of shops are closed and most people in South Wales are still very much unemployed. More needs to be done in other parts of the UK I think, not just in the Big Smoke.


    Spare a thought for the film and TV industry. It had a testing time as people watched the Olympics instead, the ONS said.

    1036: Stuart Macswan, Crowthorne

    writes: Great news. We are in the manufacturing sector and have noticed more confidence in our sector through this year. The Olympics has helped but let's be positive and drive on to higher growth. As expected, lots of negative comments from Labour and their supporters.


    "This news will give many businesses the confidence to invest," says the British Chambers of Commerce. But firms are still struggling to get the finance they need, it points out.

    1041: Alex Belardinelli Special adviser to Ed Balls

    tweets: But as ONS says - this means GDP is broadly unchanged from a year ago. So no time for complacency.

    1044: Markit Economics Global market survey provider

    tweets: UK GDP still down -3% compared to quarterly peak back in Q1 2008. Perspective.

    1053: Richard Wellings, Deputy Editorial Director at the Institute of Economic Affairs

    tweets: Long-term effect of Olympics on GDP is likely to be negative, due to higher taxes and crowding out.


    Responding to the GDP figures, Labour's shadow chancellor Ed Balls says Britain has had "good news" but warns "this is no time for complacency". He says: "The question for the coming months is whether and how we can catch up all the ground we have lost over the last two years and not keep falling behind as other countries move ahead."

    1055: Alex Stevenson,

    writes that "The double-dip recession is officially over - but don't be fooled. Britain's economic misery is far from over."


    A quick recap:

    • The UK economy has come out of recession in the three months from July to September
    • It has grown by 1.0% - according to official gross domestic product figures (GDP) from the Office for National Statistics
    • GDP measures the value of everything produced in the country
    • The figures were flattered by exceptional factors, including Olympic and Paralympic ticket sales
    • However, GDP is flat compared with the third quarter in 2011

    Can the UK keep growing, asks Kathleen Brooks, market watcher from Her answer? On the positive side, the falling rate of inflation will mean people should have more money in their pockets in time for Christmas. But the state of the US and eurozone economies is still a real worry, she says.

    1104: Jack White, Surrey

    texts: It's okay for financiers and treasurers to use a third quarter of GDP growth as indication of being out of recession, but what about unemployment? Net positive employment is the gold standard for growth for normal people.


    We are being buffetted by external factors, the chancellor tells the BBC's economics editor Stephanie Flanders. Economists are particularly concerned about the very weak eurozone economy - which takes about 50% or more of British exports.

    1108: Stephen Nicolay, Essex

    texts: This is excellent news during a difficult period for many. It will of course take time for the wider economy to pick up, but it is certainly a step forward and should inspire us all to greater self-belief.


    Chancellor George Osborne also tells economics editor Stephanie Flanders that "the British economy is on the right track," but adds the country is still dealing with some "deep seated problems" and risks from the eurozone region, rising oil prices and the difficult international situation. He says the government is dealing with the situation by addressing debt and creating jobs.

    1111: Chuka Umunna Labour Shadow Business Secretary

    tweets: Good news on GDP but with construction struggling, small business lending falling and the squeeze continuing,there's no room for complacency

    1116: Wilf Jones in Shifnal

    writes: I hope politicians generally together with their favoured economists will have the sense to say nothing. I work in the construction industry, mainly in the Midlands and NW regions; although life is not easy, the last 12 months has seen consolidation and lately, more positive growth. There is a real sense of optimism for the future and I for one do not wish to be lectured to by a bunch of failed politicians and in particular, Ed Balls and his cronies.


    Mr Jones tells us there is a sense of optimism in construction where he works. Looking back, the ONS says the output from the construction sector is 11% less than a year ago.

    1120: Breaking News

    Ford is to close its Transit van factory in Southampton and a plant in Dagenham, with the loss of up to 1,500 jobs, sources tell the Press Association.

    1122: Mike Frost in Cardiff

    writes: I work in the charity sector and there are no lasting signs of improvement. Many people are understandably cautious about giving donations for good works when their pay has been frozen and they are worried about their job. It's also far harder to get support from grant makers than 5 years ago.

    1123: Mike Frost in Cardiff

    continues: We might have modest growth again but it's going to take ages to provide jobs for everyone looking. And most of the new jobs are part-time when most people want full-time. A proper recovery is a long way off.

    transit vans

    BBC correspondent Alistair Fee, who is outside the Ford plant in Southampton, says unions there are still discussing the situation and that job losses would be a terrible blow to the area.


    What is your reaction to the GDP figures? What has been your experience of the UK economy this year? Get in touch.

    1127: Liam Chapman in Nottingham

    writes: I refuse to "spare a thought" for the film industry having spent £18.60 to take my 6-year-old daughter to the cinema last week!

    1131: Stefan Stern, management writer

    tweets: I think Prof @davidschneider of the University of Kreplach got it right yesterday - "Plan B is now to have an Olympics every quarter". #gdp


    Have a read of "Five Reasons to Be Cautious About Today's Growth Figures" by the Institute for Public Policy Research's Will Straw.


    Justin Bowden, national officer of the GMB union, says the loss of jobs at Ford is "devastating news for the workers in Southampton and Dagenham and is very bad news for UK manufacturing. Ford's track record in Britain is one of broken promises and factory closures."


    Looking at the bigger picture, Will Hutton of the Work Foundation says the economy still faces an "enormous millstone" of private debt. It is as a legacy from the long boom financed by borrowing by households and businesses, he tells the BBC, and the government has so far failed to get to grips with it.


    This gives you an idea of how the economy has been faring since the start of the financial crisis in 2008. Some argue that the double-dip recession began then.

    1155: James Landale Deputy political editor

    on the political significance of the GDP figures: It allows the coalition parties to begin rehearsing their argument for the next election, namely their claim that the economy is on the right track and voters should not risk it all by backing Labour. It also puts pressure on Labour to come up with a strategy that responds to this argument.

    1200: Anthony Reuben Business reporter, BBC News

    The Daily Telegraph is reporting that Prime Minister David Cameron faces an official investigation after concerns were raised with the UK Statistics Authority over whether he hinted about good GDP figures in the House of Commons yesterday. Number Ten said he was commenting generally on other good news in the economy.

    1204: R J Tysoe in London

    writes: After spending billions on the Olympics we manage to limp out of a recession with growth of 1%? I don't think that is anything to celebrate. Meanwhile the NHS employers body have said that staff don't need a pay rise, despite George Osborne saying they would get one. So by next year my take home pay will have reduced by 15% in real terms. If you wonder why we are in recession it is because people like me have less and less money to spend.

    Niesr graphic comparing latest recession with past recessions

    This graph from the National Institute of Economic and Social Research compares the latest recession - the blue line - with past ones. It shows how in previous cases, the recovery was well under way at this stage.

    1214: Stephanie Flanders Economics editor

    explains in her blog the impact of extra factors on the GDP figures: "We can't say for sure how much the bank holiday or the Olympics have distorted these figures. But one way to step back from this is to simply take the average quarterly growth for the past six months, which appears to have been 0.3%."


    Some plain speaking from former chancellor Lord Lawson. These figures are "unreliable", he tells the BBC News channel, describing the economy as "more or less flatlining".

    shadow chancellor ed balls

    Labour's shadow chancellor Ed Balls also spoke of "flatlining". You can read his full response to the GDP figures here.


    More details on those Ford jobs: It now looks like the carmaker will announce that it is cutting 1,300 jobs. Some new ones will be created building Ford's new Panther engine.


    The Unite union says: "Looking at Ford and the trouble in the eurozone it seems there will be more pain to come... It will be a long time before the feelgood factor returns."

    1228: Cheryl Gillan, Conservative MP for Chesham and Amersham

    is also worried about the eurozone - the UK's biggest trading partner. She tweets: GDP figures encouraging & mark a turning point but need to keep the foot on the accelerator & watch our back in Europe #Euro


    After Lord Lawson's comments, it is worth restating that today's GDP figure is an estimate - a second estimate based on further data will be announced near the end of November. So it is possible the figure could be revised.

    1234: Jill Todd in London
    olympic stadium

    writes: I worked as a volunteer in the Paralympic Village and the atmosphere in London was electric. We did something very right indeed this summer. The fact that it contributed to UK plc is an extra plus - and the UK can feel proud again.

    1240: Gregg Manning in Plymouth

    writes: While I can fully understand how these figures have to be treated with caution, why does everything have to be so negative? The financial state of a country has a lot to do with confidence and to constantly tinge every bit of progress with a negative slant does no good to anyone.

    1244: Will Black, in Cambridge

    tweets: The UK GDP figures mask the fact that 20% of young people are unemployed and those in university are heading for massive debt.


    "It's not exactly a recession, but not exactly a recovery either," says KPMG Chief Economist, Andrew Smith, before putting the latest figures into perspective. "Output continues to do no more than bounce along the bottom as it has for the past two years. GDP is still some 4% below its pre-recession peak."

    1253: James Telfer, in Liverpool

    tweets: A whole 1% of growth. I can't help but smile seeing a statistic like that. Construction sector is still a worry though, down 2.6%.


    Here's your lunchtime recap:

    • The UK has come out of recession with the fastest rate of economic growth in five years
    • Latest official figures show that between July and September the economy grew by 1%, helped by revenue from Olympics ticket sales
    • Prime Minister David Cameron said the figures were evidence that the government had the right approach, but there was still a long way to go
    • Shadow chancellor, Ed Balls, insisted that underlying growth remained weak, and he pointed out that the economy was only back to the same size it was a year ago
    boris johnson

    "As I predicted, the Olympic gloomsters and doom-mongers have been proved wrong once again," said London Mayor Boris Johnson. "Throughout the summer they were talking down London's high streets and hotels, and yet as today proves, London played a significant part in the growth we are now seeing."


    Mr Johnson continues: "We cannot of course rest there, we must push on with our 2012 legacy plans - plans that will deliver more major sporting events, housing, regeneration and the jobs and growth in the capital that will underpin the recovery UK-wide."

    1309: Simon Scotchbrook in Stockton

    writes: In many ways, the news is not unexpected as local statistics indicated businesses in the north-east, where my business is based, have been performing well. Now that we have this confirmed through national figures, hopefully we will see a rise in confidence amongst buyers and businesses.

    1309: Sean McEleney in Derry, Northern Ireland

    has a very different view: I think the UK economy is in a disastrous state. I graduated almost one year ago and I still haven't secured a decent job. It is bordering on ridiculous. I really now feel that I am slowly being sucked into the "lost generation" vacuum and all the politicians seem to do is squabble.


    For in-depth analysis on the growth figures, listen to the World at One live on BBC Radio 4.


    Ford workers in Southampton have been sent home early after the carmaker confirmed the closure of the plant which makes Transit vans, BBC industry correspondent John Moylan says. A stamping plant in Dagenham which makes parts for the Transit will also close.


    Here is Ford's full statement, with details of the US firm's restructuring of its European operations.


    Back to those GDP figures and senior Tory MP Brian Binley has warned in his blog that the chancellor and prime minister "should not spend too much time patting themselves on the back". He says: "It's time for the chancellor to take a more hands-on approach, display some management skills to see things through and increase private demand in the economy."

    1319: Tom Wilkinson, in Belfast

    writes: The true issue is not whether one quarter's growth figures are higher than the previous quarter's, but how long it will take to recover the economic production lost since 2008 and restore the actual living standards of people to what they were. Even that understates the true loss - which lies between where production is now and where it might reasonably have been expected to be with long-term trend growth, had the financial crisis not brought on recession.


    We'll be keeping across your reactions for the next hour. You can comment on the main news report 'UK economy returns to growth with help from Olympics'; on the BBC News Facebook page; or by using the comment form at the bottom right of this page.


    Ford said it had to "act quickly and decisively to address the collapse in consumer demand in Europe today and position Ford for profitable growth tomorrow," But it also said it was committed to the UK and was investing in research and development, engineering and manufacturing. This is expected to safeguard hundreds of jobs.


    To find out more on the situation in the eurozone, go to our special report: This week we reported business activity in the region contracted at its fastest pace in almost three-and-a-half years in October.

    Martin Warner

    Is growth reaching UK industry? Brick production across the UK is down 8% year-on-year. Martin Warner of Michelmersh Brick Holdings says: "Housing numbers have gone back - both in terms of private housing, but more particularly public housing. And there's been a general loss of confidence."


    Meanwhile, some high-tech firms are doing well. One Gloucestershire firm which makes circuit boards for factories has seen profits rise by 108%. Ben Taylor of Renishaw tells BBC News: "We are very fortunate that we support things like aero-engine production, air-frame production, propellers and landing gear. And they're doing very well and that's helped us. We're trying to find 120 people to work here in the UK."


    There is also a great deal of optimism and ambition at EBAC water coolers, which is based on the Aycliffe Business Park in County Durham. Managing director Pamela Petty says orders are "still coming in thick and fast", even from the eurozone. It has just received an order to build washing machines which should double its staff and turnover. "If we are not a household appliance [High Street] name in 20 years time I will have failed," she told BBC News.

    Kay Lightfoot, a worker at EBAC

    One of EBAC's workers, Kay Lightfoot, said she felt very down two years ago, when the North East took a massive economic hit, but she says she now thinks her job is much safer, thanks to new orders coming into the firm.


    It is a much more difficult time for some Ford workers. The chief executive of the Society of Motor manufacturers and Traders, Paul Everitt, says: "The immediate priority is to help those impacted secure alternative employment... These are difficult times for the European automotive industry as manufacturers adapt to new market conditions and changing patterns of global demand."


    If you need help finding a job - or want advice on financial matters like debt, we have a guide to where to go for help and information.


    writes: In reality, there is very low confidence out there in business and communities. After 4 years, most of us remain shell-shocked by what happened in the banks. Nothing has changed other than higher taxation, less work and real despair. I predict that Q4 will be nearer to zero growth. It will take another decade to sort the mess out.

    1405: Paul Dengel

    commenting on the BBC News Facebook page, writes: In my humble opinion, if we need 2 or 3 periods of contraction to define a recession then I expect the same to be said for recovery. If there are 2 or 3 periods of consistent growth then maybe we will indeed have turned a corner.


    An interesting point. There is no official definition of recession, but it is generally regarded as two consecutive quarters of negative growth. (See our Q&A on it here.) There is often quite a debate among economists about when recessionary periods start and end, particularly when the economy is zigzagging between growth and contraction, as we have been in recent years.

    1411: Leigh Knight in Bracknell

    asks: Can someone please explain why no one ever mentions the whole extra 24 hours of output we get this year due to an additional leap year day in February. Employers get a free day's work from its staff, but all that gets mentioned is Jubilee, Royal Wedding blah blah blah. I am genuinely interested to know whether what impact this extra work day has, as we see a lot of estimates for lost GDP for one additional Bank Holiday.

    1413: John Jenkins in Berkshire

    writes: I thoroughly agree with cautionary notes, but I have to say I am fully in agreement with Mr Manning of Plymouth's comments. We should be positive about every item of good news - I am fed up with those who constantly aim to pour cold water on any signs of economic progress. The country needs to see progress, provided it is real, and those who try to hide this do our country no service at all. So listen up, Mr Balls!


    Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Liberal Democrat Danny Alexander, has another cautionary note (apologies to Mr Jenkins, below). He says there is still a "long hard road" back to recovery. He adds: "Economic forecasting, unlike in Ed Balls's time when it was a matter for ministers, is now a matter for the independent Office for Budget Responsibility. We shouldn't get carried away by these figures because there is still a long hard road back to economic strength for this country."


    Richard Dodd, from the British Retail Consortium, says: "We've actually got some figures out this morning which show that retail job numbers are going up again and shop openings are increasing as well, after previously moving in the opposite direction. But my note of caution is that retail sales are still very weak. It's clear that retail spending played very little part in this turn-around in GDP."


    Labour leader Ed Miliband has been visiting Preston today. He says the growth figures are "good news" but also warns against "complacency". He says: "I think what families are feeling is that their living standards are squeezed, it's still hard for people to find work and small businesses are really struggling."

    ed miliband

    Mr Miliband also calls for the government to build on today's figures with "a proper long-term plan for a strong, sustained recovery in this country - not just one quarter, but a strong sustained recovery".


    It is no comfort if your job is on the line, but the number of people out of work in the UK has been dropping. Unemployment fell by 50,000 to 2.53 million in the three months to August. You can see how joblessness has changed in your area during the recession with this interactive map.

    Wayne Woolford

    It seems fitting to give the last word to Wayne Woolford, director the Premier Group which made the Olympic torches: "We are very pleased with the news and hopefully it will mean more projects can be launched that we can be part of," he tells BBC News.


    We're coming to the end of our live coverage, but here are a few key points to sum up:

    • The UK is formally out of recession
    • The economy grew by 1% in the third quarter of the year - between July and September 2012 - according to the ONS
    • This represents the fastest rate of growth in five years
    • Experts say the Olympics and a bounceback after the Diamond Jubilee weekend in the second quarter accounted for two thirds of the growth
    • So some argue there is a worryingly flat level of underlying growth

    And a few final points summing up the reaction:

    • The GDP figures have been broadly welcomed by politicians and businesses
    • But the Olypmic boost and concerns about the weak eurozone economy mean many experts question whether the growth can continue - or how strong it can be
    • The government said the economy was on "the right track"
    • While Labour said the figures were "nowhere near good enough"

    But before we wrap up, we've just got an answer to Leigh Knight's question from the people at the ONS. The extra day in leap years isn't mentioned because it isn't a one-off event like the Olympics or the Diamond Jubilee holiday. It is completely predictable and therefore is taken into account in seasonal adjustments, which try to make figures as comparable as possible.


    This is how they do it. "Our standard approach to February is to adjust its value to represent an average length February (that is, 28 1/4 days). This is in accordance with international best practice. This procedure requires us to assess the impact of this additional day for each of the main sectors. Any significant leap year effect is then spread across the Februaries as part of the standard seasonal adjustment process." So now we know.


    That's where we shall leave our live coverage of the GDP figures - thank you for all of your comments. You can read our full story here and get in-depth reports, analysis and background here.


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