Britain’s gross domestic product shrank by 1.7 percent in the three months to January 2021, the first period of contraction since May-July but better than market expectations of a 2.5 percent contraction. In January alone, the GDP fell by 2.9 percent, compared with forecasts of a 4.9 percent slump, as government restrictions reduced economic activity. January’s level remained 9.0 percent below that seen in February 2020 and 4.0 percent below levels seen in October 2020, the initial recovery peak. The services sector contracted by 3.5 percent, led by falls in consumer-facing services industries and education, while output in the production sector fell by 1.5 percent, after manufacturing contracted for the first time since the initial pandemic-driven fall in output in April 2020. Meanwhile, construction output rose 0.9 percent, driven by growth in new work.