There’s been a downward revision to GDP, a key measure of economic growth, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said on Friday morning.
Rather than remaining stagnant, as first thought, the economy contracted 0.1% in the three months from July to September.
Economists had been expecting growth of 0.2%.
A country is technically in recession after two three-month periods of a shrinking economy.
If the final data for the fourth quarter of 2023, from October to December – which will be released next year – shows a contraction, the country will officially be in recession.
Another amendment was made to the second quarter of this year, from April to June. Rather than growing 0.2%, as was previously announced, the ONS has said there was actually no growth.
Changes were made to the statistics as regular monthly business surveys and VAT returns showed less spending, said the ONS director of economic statistics, Darren Morgan.
Weaker performances from smaller businesses, particularly hospitality and information technology (IT), influenced the adjustments, Mr Morgan said.
In the most recent quarter, film production, engineering and design, and telecommunication all faired “a little worse” than expected.
VAT data takes time to receive and process, he added.
In the latest three-month period there was a 0.2% fall in the large services sector, offsetting a 0.4% expansion in construction output and a 0.1% boost in the production sector.
It amounted to the biggest downturn in consumer-facing services since September 2021 when a COVID lockdown was imposed.