The UK narrowly avoided falling into recession in 2022, new figures show, after the economy saw zero growth between October and December.
The economy shrank between July and September. A recession is defined as when the economy contracts for two consecutive three-month periods.
But in December alone the economy fell by 0.5% partly due to strikes across health, trains and the Royal Mail.
The Bank of England still expects the UK to enter recession this year.
But it will be shorter and less severe than previously thought.
Darren Morgan, director of economic statistics at the Office for National Statistics, which published the data, said: “In December public services were hit by fewer operations and GP visits, partly due to the impact of strikes, as well as notably lower school attendance.
“Meanwhile, the break in Premier League football for the World Cup and postal strikes also caused a slowdown.”
Over 2022, gross domestic product (GDP) grew by 4% – the biggest increase of all G7 nations for last year. However that compares to 7.6% growth in the previous year and the UK economy is still 0.8% smaller than it was before the Covid pandemic.