New figures released by the Office for National Statistics have shown that the services sector – which makes up around 79% of the UK’s GDP, and accounts for the majority of freelancer and contractor work – has continued the upward trend it has enjoyed for the last few quarters, recording healthy growth between January and April this year. The services industry experienced 2.8% year-on-year growth in the first quarter of 2014 – up from 2.5% in the last quarter of 2013.

Although other sectors, such as construction, are seeing faster growth than the services industry, their contribution to the UK’s economy is proportionally much smaller. The construction industry’s speedy 6.7% annual growth only amounts to an extra £10.3 million in business – whereas the service sector’s more modest 2.8% growth contributes an extra £52 million to the UK’s economy.

Within the services industry as a whole the hospitality sector is seeing the most pronounced growth – 5.3% annually – followed closely by business services and finance with 4.1% expansion. Notably, the four component industries of the services sector all grew in the last year.

The service sector’s growth is reinforced by several factors, including renewed confidence in the banking sector and the surge in the UK’s self-employment levels.

Photo by William Warby