UK first-quarter growth unchanged

Builders Services are growing more strongly, but construction continues to struggle

The UK's economy grew at 0.3% in the first three months of the year, official figures have confirmed.

The figure from the Office for National Statistics is unchanged from the initial estimate it gave in April.

It confirms the UK avoided falling into a triple-dip recession, and suggests signs of recovery in the economy.

On Wednesday the International Monetary Fund (IMF) urged the government to do more to stimulate growth as well as continuing austerity measures.

It reflects concerns that UK economic growth has been persistently weak since it first fell into recession following the financial crisis in 2008.

In its commentary accompanying the revised figures, the ONS said GDP growth has been slowed by weakness in the domestic and global markets.

It also said that slower wage growth was hurting people's ability to spend, dampening the prospects for growth.

'Pretty rickety'

The ONS said the services sector, which accounts for around three quarters of the economy, was the main driver for growth, expanding 0.6% in the quarter.

It has recovered steadily and is now above its pre-recession levels.

Meanwhile, the construction sector has continued to struggle. It has been seen as a significant drag on economic growth in recent years.

However, some economists said the figures did not suggest the recovery in the economy would continue to strengthen.

"With employment and average earnings both dropping in the first quarter on their level in the previous quarter, the foundations for a sustained recovery, even one driven by consumers, still look pretty rickety," said Martin Beck, UK economist at Capital Economics.

On Wednesday the IMF warned the UK was still a "long way from recovery" and called on the government to increase infrastructure spending in the near-term in order to boost growth.

Despite those concerns the Bank of England has so far shied away from expanding quantitative easing - one of its major tools for boosting growth.

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