The UK's gross domestic product rose by 0.6 per cent in the first three months of 2006 on a like-for-like basis, fuelled by growth in the production industry but brought down by a lull in consumer spending, government figures have revealed.
Output from the production sector rose by 0.8 per cent compared to the final quarter of last year, which represents the strongest increase recorded for over six years, but in comparison, household expenditure slowed to a rise of 0.2 per cent compared to the a 0.7 per cent increase at the end of 2005.
The 0.6 per cent overall growth was identical to the rise of the last three months of last year, which is a 2.2 per cent increase compared to the beginning of 2005.
Within the production industry the manufacturing sector grew 0.7 per cent on a like-for-like basis, while the service industry experienced a rise of 0.6 per cent, which was down on the one per cent increase witnessed in the last quarter.
The slowdown in household expenditure was largely attributable to a fall in purchases of both semi and non-durable goods, with the distribution sector's output also decreasing by 0.4 per cent due to an easing in retail spending, the Office of National Statistics claims.
Government expenditure was found to have increased in line with overall GDP over the last three months, a significant increase of 4.6 per cent compared with the first quarter of 2005. However, a widening of the UK's trade deficit acted as a deterrent upon the economy's growth.
The biggest individual rise in economical terms on a like-for-like basis was found in levels of employee compensation, which went up by 1.2 per cent, 4.5 per cent more than two years ago.