LONDON — The U.K. economy shrank at its slowest pace in seven years in May, according to the latest official jobs report released Thursday.
The economy expanded by 0.1% in the quarter, which ended May 10.
That was less than the 0.3% expansion economists had forecast.
“The UK economy is still growing but not as much as we expected,” said Andrew McAfee, an economist at Capital Economics.
“It’s hard to believe that the slowdown was a deliberate decision by the prime minister’s team, but I’m guessing he was hoping that the jobs data would make the election a referendum on his economic performance.”
He added that “the slowdown is more likely to be down to a combination of the economy’s sluggishness and an unwillingness by the public to give the prime ministers leadership.”
The jobs report was the first in the UK’s economic data series since the Bank of England’s governor, Mark Carney, said last month that the central bank was raising interest rates, saying it was taking on too much risk.
Carney’s remarks were seen as an attempt to stimulate the economy by boosting the government’s borrowing costs.
The jobs figure also was weaker than the U.N. Economic Commission for Europe’s preliminary estimate that the economy contracted by 0