Britain’s 18-month downturn is over, but just barely. The Office for National Statistics reported today that GDP rose by 0.1 per cent in the final quarter of 2009, making Britain the last of the major economies to return to growth. Yet this figure is still short of the 0.3 to 0.4 per cent expectations; chief economist Joe Grice said the estimate was based on 40 per cent of the data available. The true number could be revised to be 0.1 to 0.2 percentage points higher, or lower. The recession cost the country 100 billion pounds in lost output, and forced 1.3 million people into the unemployment line—pushing unemployment up to 7.9 per cent.