LONDON (AP) -- Britain dodged recession after official figures showed the economy grew in the first quarter.
The Office for National Statistics said Thursday that the economy grew by 0.3 percent in the first quarter compared with the previous three-month period.
Economists on average were expecting growth of 0.1 percent. But with growth so anemic, even a statistical blip could have put the number in negative territory and pushed Britain into its third recession since 2008.
A recession is typically defined as two quarters of economic contraction. The economy contracted in the fourth quarter of 2012.
Observers had feared that news of another recession — what the media had been calling a "Triple Dip" — would scare consumers even more, feeding into a vicious cycle that has the economy flat-lining.
Britain's government desperately wanted a robust number to justify its austerity policies, and will breathe a huge sigh of relief at the news.