LONDON (AP) — Britain's economy fell deeper than expected into recession in the second quarter of 2012, increasing pressure on the government to ease up on its austerity measures.
The U.K.'s gross domestic product shrank by 0.7 percent compared to the first three months of the year, official data showed Wednesday.
The Office for National Statistics said the U.K.'s gross domestic product was likely depressed by an extra day's holiday in June to celebrate the 60-year reign of Queen Elizabeth II, and rainy weather may also have been a factor.
The consensus in the markets was that output would fall by a more modest 0.2 percent in the three months ending June 30.
Output from the service industries including the financial sector was down 0.1 percent, manufacturing and other production industries were down 1.3 percent and construction fell 5.2 percent, the agency said.
GDP has now fallen in five of the last seven quarters. The technical definition of a recession is two successive quarters of decline.
The International Monetary Fund said last week that Prime Minister David Cameron's government may have to ease up on budget-cutting if the economy fails to rebound strongly.
"The steep contraction in GDP in the second quarter heaps further pressure on the government to come up with more measures to boost growth, and will undoubtedly lead to further calls for the fiscal squeeze to be eased until the economy is on a firmer footing," said Howard Archer, chief European economist at IHS Global Insight.