Provisional government figures show 0.8% fall in third-quarter output, after 0.5% fall the previous quarter

The pace of decline in construction output has quickened sharply in the past three months, according to provisional GDP figures from the government, as the economy entered its longest recession since full records began.

Construction output fell by 0.8% over the past three months, following a fall of 0.5% in the previous quarter. However, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) warned that the figures were based on a small survey of output and were not final.

Overall, the ONS data showed that, contrary to economists' expectation, the economy entered its sixth successive quarter of recession, the longest since records began in 1955, with only the public sector showing growth in output.

Despite recent bank profits, the business services and finance sector slipped into recession for the first time, with a fall in output of 0.4%, compared to growth of 0.1% in the previous quarter.