Economic Trends/Outlook in the U.K.
The United Kingdom is the seventh global economy. However, since April 2008, the country has been going through a deep recession, deeply hit by the international financial crisis, due to the dominance of the third (financial) sector over its economy. After contracting by almost 5% in 2009, the GDP growth recovered slowly in 2010, rising to 1.7% according to estimates. Growth should remain slow in the coming years.
The crisis has damaged the country's public finances. Aid to the financial sector and fiscal stimulus measures have deepened the deficit and increased the burden of public debt, the latter reaching record levels of 10% and 70% of GDP respectively. The government's priority is therefore to improve the budgetary situation. Other reform measures have been announced, notably regarding the educational system, social security, pension system, financial regulation, taxation, etc.
The unemployment rate, before one of the lowest in Europe, has been rising sharply since the crisis and is estimated at around 8%.
|GDP (billions USD)||2,182.43||2,247.46e||2,471.88e||2,602.49e||2,743.35e|
|GDP (Constant Prices, Annual % Change)||-4.9||1.3e||1.7e||2.3e||2.5e|
|GDP per Capita (USD)||35,315e||36,120e||39,459e||41,267e||43,212e|
|General Government Balance (in % of GDP)||-8.5e||-8.3e||-6.6e||-5.1e||-3.5e|
|General Government Gross Debt (in % of GDP)||68.3e||77.2e||83.0e||86.5e||87.4e|
|Inflation Rate (%)||2.1||3.3e||4.2e||2.0e||2.0e|
|Unemployment Rate (% of the Labor Force)||7.5e||7.8e||7.8e||7.7e||7.4e|
|Current Account (billions USD)||-28.84e||-36.97e||-37.11e||-39.22e||-|
|Current Account (in % of GDP)||-1.3e||-1.7e||-1.6e||-1.6e||-|
Source: IMF - World Economic Outlook Database
Note: (e) Estimated Data
Main Sectors of Industry
The Agricultural sector accounts for less than 1% of the GDP, but is very productive. Main crops are potatoes, beetroot, wheat and barley. Livestock farming (especially sheep and cattle) continues to be a major agricultural activity, despite the crises of "mad cow" and "foot and mouth" diseases. The fishing sector is also well developed but is currently suffering from the depletion of fish volumes in the traditional fishing areas.
The United Kingdom has considerable mineral resources. Once the world's 10th biggest oil producer with huge natural gas reserves, its production is dropping fast. Nevertheless, groups like BP and Shell continue to be amongst the global leaders in the petroleum industry.
The secondary sector is not very competitive. The main activities are tool machinery, transport material and chemical products. The sectors with a good potential are information and communication technologies, bio-technology, aviation industry, renewable energies and defense.
The services sector, which employs three quarters of the active population and contributes three quarters of the GDP, is the driving force behind the economy. London remains Europe's largest financial market place, on par with New York.
|Breakdown of Economic Activity By Sector||Agriculture||Industry||Services|
|Employment By Sector (in % of Total Employment)||1.4||21.4||76.9|
|Value Added (in % of GDP)||0.7||21.0||78.2|
|Value Added (Annual % Change)||-5.0||-10.2||-3.1|
Source: World Bank - Last Available Data.
Indicator of Economic Freedom
- Mostly free
- World Rank:
- Regional Rank:
Sources of General Economic Information
Prime Minister's Office
Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (MAFF)
Department of Trade and Industry
Directorate of Standardization (Dstan)
- Statistical Office
Office for National Statistics
- Central Bank
- Stock Exchange
FTSE The Index Company
London Stock Exchange
- Other Useful Resources
Confederation of British Industry
Invest in Britain Bureau
- Main Online Newspapers
The Daily Telegraph
- Economic Portals
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