The UK barely crawled out of recession in the final three months of 2009, official figures have shown.
The marginal 0.1% growth between October and December ended a record six straight quarters of decline but fell far short of the 0.4% advance expected.
The Office for National Statistics (ONS) figure is only a first estimate and may be revised higher but the result was greeted with disappointment by experts.
IHS Global Insight economist Howard Archer said: "While the UK may be officially out of recession, it is far from out of the economic woods. Economic and financial conditions are still very challenging and the UK faces a tough job to build a decent recovery."
Overall, the economy slumped 4.8% last year - the biggest annual contraction since records began in 1949 - and it has lost 6% since the recession began in 2008.
The UK's powerhouse services sector - which accounts for more than two-thirds of the economy - only managed 0.1% growth in the fourth quarter, the ONS said.
ING Bank economist James Knightley added: "This is a woefully soft emergence from recession."
Downing Street said Prime Minister Gordon Brown was "confident but cautious" about growth. A spokeswoman said: "The Government's right to be confident but cautious about the prospects of the economy."
Shadow Chancellor George Osborne called for a "new model of economic growth" under a Conservative Government and told the BBC: "Let's be clear - this is about as weak growth as you can get."
He said the figures had shown up as "nonsense" claims by the Prime Minister that the UK was better prepared than other nations to tackle recession.