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Economic growth estimates: Evening Standard, 19 July 2011

An article in the Evening Standard claimed that there are questions over the quality of the GDP growth estimates, especially on construction, while the Bank of England believes that ONS has overstated the depth of recession and underestimated the recovery.

Joe Grice wrote to set the record straight.

Sir,

Russell Lynch makes some disparaging remarks about ONS's estimates of economic growth (Evening Standard, 19 July 2011). These remarks are without basis. The GDP figures are continuously assessed as they become available and are updated. The evidence, published on the ONS website, shows that they have been a timely and accurate guide to the behaviour of the economy. As to the views Mr Lynch attributes to the Bank of England, the Bank will no doubt speak for itself. But we are in regular discussion, and these are not views that have been put to us.

The ONS construction output survey is the largest and most comprehensive construction survey in the UK. It samples 8,000 businesses a month, and covers over 37 per cent of all construction sector employment and over 50 per cent of all construction turnover. ONS is confident that it is the best and most reliable source of construction output data in the UK. All large businesses (over 100 employees) take part in the survey every month.

Joe Grice
Chief Economist
Office for National Statistics

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