This bulletin presents the Index of Production (IoP) for the United Kingdom production industries, March 2014. Users are reminded that all figures contained within this release are seasonally adjusted estimates, unless otherwise stated. The reference year for these estimates is 2010=100 and they are mainly based on a monthly business survey (MBS) of approximately 6,000 businesses, covering all the territory of the UK without geographical breakdown. The IoP is one of the earliest indicators of growth and it measures gross value added in the manufacturing (the largest component of production), mining & quarrying, energy supply and water supply & waste management sectors. The total IoP estimate and various breakdowns are widely used in private and public sector institutions. Care should be taken when using the month on month growth rates due to their volatility. For an explanation of the terms used in this bulletin and other information, please see the background notes section. Table 1 shows the key figures for this release. Figure 1 shows the production and manufacturing series from December 2011 to March 2014.
|Index number||Month on the same month a year ago||3 months on the same 3 months a year ago||Month on previous month||3 months on previous 3 months|
As seen in Figure 2, the pace of growth in manufacturing exceeded that of total production between 2004 and 2007. This trend, however, was temporarily interrupted following the economic downturn in 2008, when manufacturing fell by a greater extent than total production.
Following the 2008 downturn, production output returned to growth for a short period, before falling again in 2011/2012 (this coincided with falling GDP in the Euro area [EA]). Total production output was particularly affected, falling below its downturn trough in Q4 2012, while manufacturing fell by a smaller amount.
Conditions clearly improved during 2013 and have continued to do so in Q1 2014, with both production and manufacturing output rising by 0.7% and 1.4% respectively compared with Q4 2013.
The recent divergence between manufacturing and total production can be attributed to movements within the sub-industry groupings that make up total production, particularly the mining and quarrying industries. The decline of oil & gas extraction over the past 13 years has provided downward pressure on production, this can be predominantly attributed to North Sea oil and gas reserves becoming increasingly challenging to extract and ageing extraction equipment requiring extensive repairs and maintenance.
More recently, the Preliminary Estimate of GDP for Q1 2014 reported that UK Gross Domestic Product (GDP) grew by 0.8%. Three out of the four of the main industrial groupings experienced growth in output, with the services, production and construction industries reported to have grown by 0.9%, 0.8%, and 0.3% respectively, but the agriculture industry contracting by 0.7%. The services industries continued to be the largest contributor to growth, with output in the latest quarter reaching 2.0% above the pre-downturn peak reached in Q1 2008. By contrast, output in both the production and construction industries remained more than 10% below their respective pre-downturn peaks.
Broader economic conditions appear to be improving in the UK. The rate of increase in the consumer prices index (CPI) eased further in March to 1.6%, due to downward contributions from transport (notably motor fuels), clothing & footwear and furniture & household goods. This was the lowest growth rate in the CPI since October 2009 and was 0.4 percentage points below the Bank of England’s official target. The UK labour market also appears to be steadily improving, with the unemployment rate for December 2013 to February 2014 falling to 6.9%, a 0.2 percentage point fall compared to September to November 2013.
The rate of annual producer input price inflation fell for a fifth consecutive month in March 2014 to -6.5%. This steady slowdown in input prices has been followed by easing in the rate of core output price inflation, which fell to 1.0% over the same period.
Globally, the performance of manufacturing has varied across G7 nations since the economic downturn of 2008, where Japan experienced the largest initial fall in output (29%), whereas the shallowest decline was in the UK (13%).
Following the 2008/09 economic downturn, all G7 nations’ manufacturing industries returned to growth. However, barring the US, all members experienced further periods of decline, particularly in Italy. More recently, all members, with the exception of Germany saw growth in manufacturing output in Q4 2013. However, output remained below their respective pre-downturn peaks, with Italy, France and Japan remaining more than 10% below, whereas the US was the closest to its pre-downturn peak at just 3% below.
Economic conditions in the euro area remain complex. The latest EA18 quarterly GDP figures showed that output grew by 0.2% in Q4 2013, a third successive quarterly expansion. However, this followed a period of six consecutive quarterly contractions up until Q1 2013 and output remained 2.7% below the pre-downturn peak reached in Q1 2008. The rate of EA18 consumer price inflation slowed further to 0.5% in the twelve months to March 2014, while the unemployment rate fell slightly to 11.8% in March, though these performances varied by country.
Economic conditions appear to have deteriorated in the US, where GDP experienced no growth in the first quarter of 2014, although this can in part be attributed to adverse weather conditions during the start of the year. The US labour market did, however, show improvements, with the unemployment rate in April falling to 6.3%, a 0.4 percentage point fall compared to March.
The preliminary estimate of GDP, published on 29 April 2014, contained a forecasted rise of 0.8% for production in Q1 2014. This release of data estimates that production rose by 0.7% between Q4 2013 and Q1 2014 and therefore the impact on the previously published Q1 2014 GDP estimate is minimal.
The estimates for the production industries are the first of the main components for the output approach to the measurement of GDP (agriculture, construction and services are the other components) to be published for March 2014, the third month of Q1 2014. All the components are already available for Q4 2013. Details of the data already published can be found in table 2.
Output in the construction industry will also be published on 9 May 2014 and services output on 22 May 2014 for March 2014.
|Publication||% of GDP||Release date||Month / Quarter of GDP||Most recent quarter on a year earlier||Most recent quarter on quarter earlier||Most recent month on the same month a year ago||Most recent month on the previous month|
|Index of||15.2||9 May||Mar||..||..||2.3||-0.1|
|Index of||77.8||29 Apr||Feb||..||..||2.7||0.2|
The data for the index of production reflect the latest revisions published as part of this release.
|Description||% of production||Month on same month a year ago growth (%)||Contribution to production (% points)||Month on previous month growth (%)||Contribution to production (% points)|
Headline figures for the Index of Production are:
Total Index of Production; Sector B Mining & quarrying; and within this Division 06 Oil & gas extraction; Sector C Manufacturing; Sector D Electricity, gas, steam & air conditioning; and Sector E Water supply, sewerage & waste management.
Source: Primarily Monthly Business Survey (Production and Services) - Office for National Statistics
Total production increased by 0.7% in Q1 2014 compared with Q4 2013. This increase was slightly lower than the forecasted rise of 0.8% contained within the GDP preliminary estimate. The increase in total production reflected rises of 1.4% in manufacturing; 0.9% in water supply, sewerage & waste management; and 0.3% in the mining & quarrying sector. The largest contribution to the increase in total production came from manufacturing, which contributed 1.0 percentage points. These rises were partially offset by a fall in the electricity, gas, steam & air conditioning sector of 5.1%, which contributed 0.4 percentage points.
Total production output in March 2014 increased by 2.3% compared with March 2013. This increase reflected rises in three of its four main components. The largest contribution to the increase was from manufacturing, the largest component of production, which increased by 3.3% compared with a year ago and contributed 2.3 percentage points. This was followed by increases in water supply, sewerage & waste management output, which increased by 12.1% and contributed 1.0 percentage points; and in mining & quarrying output, which increased by 3.1% and contributed 0.4 percentage points to total production. These rises were partially offset by a decrease in electricity, gas, steam & air-conditioning output, which decreased by 15.4%, the largest fall since March 1985, contributing 1.4 percentage points.
Between February 2014 and March 2014, total production decreased by 0.1% following growth in February of 0.8%. The decrease in total production reflected a fall of 2.8% in mining & quarrying, which contributed 0.3 percentage points; and a fall of 2.1% in water supply, sewerage & waste management, which contributed 0.2 percentage points. These decreases were offset by increases of 0.5% in manufacturing, which contributed 0.4 percentage points; and an increase of 0.5% in the electricity, gas, steam & air conditioning sector, which had a negligible contribution to total production.
Manufacturing rose by 1.4% in Q1 2014 when compared with Q4 2013, slightly higher than the forecasted rise of 1.3% contained within the latest GDP preliminary estimate. Output increased in nine of its 13 subsectors. The largest upward contribution to manufacturing growth was from the manufacture of rubber, plastic products & other non-metallic mineral products, which rose by 7.3% and contributed 0.6 percentage points to this sector’s growth. The second largest contributor to the manufacturing growth was the manufacture of food, beverages & tobacco, which rose by 3.4% and contributed 0.5 percentage points to the manufacturing growth. This was followed by the manufacture of machinery & equipment not elsewhere classified, which rose by 3.8% and contributed 0.3 percentage points.
In contrast, the largest downward contribution was from the manufacture of basic pharmaceutical products & pharmaceutical preparations, which fell by 5.8% and decreased manufacturing growth by 0.4 percentage points, having increased between the previous two quarters. This was followed by the manufacture of coke & refined petroleum products, which fell by 7.2% and contributed 0.2 percentage points; and the manufacture of electrical equipment, which fell by 1.9% with a negligible downward contribution.
Manufacturing output increased by 3.3% between March 2013 and March 2014, with outputs increasing in nine of the 13 manufacturing subsectors. The largest upward contribution to manufacturing was from the manufacture of rubber, plastic products & other non-metallic mineral products, which increased by 14.8% and contributed 1.1 percentage points to the increase. The majority of this contribution came from the rubber & plastic products industry, which increased by 10.1% and contributed 0.5 percentage points to manufacturing growth. The second largest contributor to the increase in manufacturing compared with a year ago was from the manufacture of transport equipment, which increased by 5.8% and contributed 0.8 percentage points. The majority of this increase was attributed to the motor vehicles, trailers & semi trailers industry, which increased by 8.3% compared with a year ago and contributed 0.7 percentage points. This was followed by the manufacture of food, beverages & tobacco, which increased by 4.6% and contributed 0.7 percentage points.
In contrast, the downward contributions to manufacturing came from the manufacture of wood, paper products & printing, which decreased by 3.7% and contributed 0.3 percentage points; the manufacture of coke & refined petroleum products, which decreased by 11.6% and contributed 0.3 percentage points; and the manufacture of computer, electronic & optical products, which decreased by 3.7% and contributed 0.2 percentage points.
Manufacturing output increased by 0.5% between February 2014 and March 2014 following 1.0% growth in February. There were increases in 10 of the 13 manufacturing subsectors. The largest contributor to the increase in manufacturing was from the manufacture of basic pharmaceutical products & pharmaceutical preparations, which increased by 4.2% and contributed 0.3 percentage points. This was followed by the manufacture of food, beverages & tobacco, which increased by 1.1% and contributed 0.2 percentage points; and by the manufacture of transport equipment, which increased by 0.8% and contributed 0.1 percentage points to the growth in manufacturing.
In contrast to the above increases, the largest downward contribution to the month on month manufacturing growth came from the manufacture of wood, paper products & printing, which decreased by 2.4% and contributed 0.2 percentage points. This was followed by the manufacture of machinery & equipment not elsewhere classified, which decreased by 1.8% and contributed 0.1 percentage points; and the manufacture of basic metals & metal products, which decreased by 0.7% and contributed 0.1 percentage points.
Mining & quarrying output increased by 0.3% in Q1 2014 compared with Q4 2013, having decreased between the previous two quarters. The increase reflected rises of 0.8% in the extraction of crude petroleum & natural gas, which contributed 0.6 percentage points to this industry's growth; and 5.4% in the mining of coal & lignite, with negligible upward contribution to the growth. In contrast, partially offsetting these increases, was a decrease in other mining & quarrying, which fell by 1.1% and contributed 0.3 percentage points.
Mining & quarrying output increased by 3.1% between March 2013 and March 2014. The largest contribution to this increase came from the extraction of crude petroleum & natural gas, which increased by 3.0% and contributed 2.1 percentage points. This was followed by an increase in other mining & quarrying output of 4.1%, which contributed 1.2 percentage points to this industry's growth. These increases were partially offset by the mining of coal & lignite, which decreased by 19.3% and had a negligible contribution.
Mining & quarrying output decreased by 2.8% in March 2014 compared with February 2014, having increased the previous month. The largest contribution to the decrease came from the extraction of crude petroleum & natural gas, which decreased by 5.0% and contributed 3.6 percentage points. The mining of coal & lignite decreased by 1.2% and had a negligible contribution to the decrease in this sector. These decreases were partially offset by an increase in other mining & quarrying output of 2.9%, which contributed 0.8 percentage points.
Electricity, gas, steam & air conditioning output decreased by 5.1% in Q1 2014 compared with Q4 2013, with decreases in both of its subsectors. The electric power generation, transmission & distribution subsector decreased by 5.0% and contributed 3.8 percentage points; and the manufacture of gas & distribution of gaseous fuels through mains decreased by 5.3% and contributed 1.3 percentage points to the sector’s fall.
Electricity, gas, steam & air conditioning output decreased by 15.4% in March 2014 compared with March 2013, with decreases in both of its subsectors. This is the largest decrease since March 1985. The manufacture of gas & distribution of gaseous fuels through mains decreased by 27.4% and contributed 8.0 percentage points; and electric power generation, transmission & distribution decreased by 10.5% and contributed 7.4 percentage points to the decrease in this industry. Feedback suggests the warmer weather compared with a year ago was the main factor in the reduction in demand.
Electricity, gas, steam & air conditioning output increased by 0.5% in March 2014 compared with February 2014. This reflects an increase of 2.0% in electric power generation, transmission & distribution, which contributed 1.5 percentage points; and a decrease of 3.6% in the manufacture of gas & distribution of gaseous fuels through mains, which contributed 0.9 percentage points.
Water supply, sewerage & waste management output increased by 0.9% in Q1 2014 compared with Q4 2013. The largest contribution to the increase was from sewerage output, which increased by 4.9% and contributed 1.4 percentage points. There were also increases of 0.1% in water collection, treatment & supply; and 0.6% in remediation activities & other waste management services; both had negligible contributions to this sector’s growth. Partially offsetting these increases was a decrease in waste collection, treatment & disposal activities, which decreased by 1.2% and contributed 0.6 percentage points.
Water supply, sewerage & waste management output increased by 12.1% between March 2013 and March 2014, with increases in all of its sectors. The largest contributor to the growth in this industry was waste collection, treatment & disposal activities, which increased by 14.3% and contributed 6.2 percentage points. The next largest contributor was sewerage output, which increased by 13.8% and contributed 4.0 percentage points; this was followed by water collection, treatment & supply, which increased by 6.8% and contributed 1.8 percentage points; and remediation activities & other waste management services, which increased by 17.5% and had a negligible contribution to the growth in this industry.
Water supply, sewerage & waste management output decreased by 2.1% between February 2014 and March 2014, with decreases in three of its four subsectors. Sewerage decreased by 7.0% and contributed 2.1 percentage points; waste collection, treatment & disposal activities decreased by 1.0% and contributed 0.4 percentage points; and remediation activities & other waste management services decreased by 1.6% and had a negligible contribution to the fall in this industry. Partially offsetting these decreases was an increase in water collection, treatment & supply, which increased by 1.9% and contributed 0.5 percentage points.
This release conforms to the standard revisions policy for National Accounts (27.8 Kb Pdf) . In accordance with the policy, the current revisions period is open back to January 2014.
A report titled GDP Output Improvement Report November 2013 (73.9 Kb Pdf) was published on 22 November 2013. This report provides a detailed update of the work on industry reviews and wider improvements to IoP, IoS, GDPO and outlines the greater scope of the project as part of the GDP Continuous Improvement Programme.
The index of production release for April 2014, to be published on 10 June 2014, will have a revisions period back to January 2013.
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Understanding the data
Short guide to the Index of Production
This statistical bulletin gives details of the index of output of the production industries in the United Kingdom. Index numbers of output in this statistical bulletin are on the base 2010=100 and are classified to the 2007 Standard Industrial Classification (SIC). The production industries, which accounted for 15.2% of gross domestic product in 2010, cover mining & quarrying (Section B), manufacturing (Section C), gas & electric (Section D), and water supply & sewerage (Section E).
Interpreting the data
The non-seasonally adjusted series contain elements relating to the impact of the standard reporting period, moving holidays and trading day activity. When making comparisons it is recommended that users focus on seasonally adjusted estimates as these have the seasonal effects and systematic calendar related components removed.
Figures for the most recent months are provisional and subject to revision in light of (a) late responses to surveys and administrative sources and (b) revisions to seasonal adjustment factors which are re-estimated every month and reviewed annually (changes from the latest review are included in this release).
Definitions and explanations
Definitions found within the main statistical bulletin are listed here:
Chained volume measure
An index number from a chain index of quantity. The index number for the reference period of the index may be set equal to 100 or to the estimated monetary value of the item in the reference period.
A measure of the average level of prices, quantities or other measured characteristics relative to their level for a defined reference period or location. It is usually expressed as a percentage.
Seasonal adjustment aids interpretation by removing effects associated with the time of the year or the arrangement of the calendar, which could obscure movements of interest.
Use of the data
The IoP is a key economic indicator and one of the earliest short-term measures of economic activity. The main output is a seasonally adjusted estimate of total production and broad sector groupings of mining & quarrying, manufacturing, energy and water supply & sewerage. The total IoP estimate and various breakdowns are widely used in private and public sector institutions, particularly the Bank of England, Her Majesty’s Treasury and the Office for Budget Responsibility, to assist in informed policy and decision making.
Composition of the data
The Index of Production uses a variety of different data from sources which are produced on either a quarterly or monthly basis.
Most of the series are derived using current price turnover deflated by a suitable price index. This includes the Monthly Business Survey (MBS) data; an ONS short-term survey of various industries in the economy. It is one of the main data sources used in the compilation of the Index of Production.
The index numbers in this statistical bulletin are all seasonally adjusted. This aids interpretation by removing annually recurring fluctuations, for example, due to holidays or other regular seasonal patterns. Unadjusted data are also available.
Seasonal adjustment removes regular variation from a time series. Regular variation includes effects due to month lengths, different activity near particular events such as shopping activity before Christmas, and regular holidays such as the May bank holiday. Some features of the calendar are not regular each year, but are predictable if we have enough data - for example the number of certain days of the week in a month may have an effect, or the impact of the timing of Easter. As Easter changes between March and April we can estimate its effect on time series and allocate it between March and April depending on where Easter falls. Estimates of the effects of day of the week and Easter are used respectively to make trading day and Easter adjustments prior to seasonal adjustments.
Although leap years only happen every four years, they are predictable and regular and their impact can be estimated. Hence, if there is a leap year effect, it is removed as part of regular seasonal adjustment.
It is common for the value of a group of financial transactions to be measured in several time periods. The values measured will include both the change in the volume sold and the effect of the change of prices over that year. Deflation is the process whereby the effect of price change is removed from a set of values.
All series, unless otherwise quoted, are chained volume measures. Deflators adjust the value series to take out the effect of price change to give the volume series.
Basic quality information
A common pitfall in interpreting data is that expectations of accuracy and reliability in early estimates are often too high. Revisions are an inevitable consequence of the trade off between timeliness and accuracy. Early estimates are based on incomplete data.
Very few statistical revisions arise as a result of ‘errors’ in the popular sense of the word. All estimates, by definition, are subject to statistical ‘error’ but in this context the word refers to the uncertainty inherent in any process or calculation that uses sampling, estimation or modelling. Most revisions reflect either the adoption of new statistical techniques, or the incorporation of new information which allows the statistical error of previous estimates to be reduced. Only rarely are there avoidable ‘errors’ such as human or system failures, and such mistakes are made quite clear when they do occur.
National Accounts revisions policy
Figures for the most recent months are provisional and subject to revision in light of (a) late responses to the Monthly Business Survey (MBS) and (b) revisions to seasonal adjustment factors which are re-estimated every period.
The index of production release for April 2014 will have a revisions period back to January 2013.
One indication of the reliability of the key indicators in this bulletin can be obtained by monitoring the size of revisions. The table below is based on the revisions which have occurred over the last five years. Please note that these indicators only report summary measures for revisions. The revised data may, themselves, be subject to sampling or other sources of error.
The following table presents a summary of the differences between the first estimates published between April 2008 and March 2013 and the estimates published 12 months later.
|Growth rates||Value in latest period||Average||Absolute average|
|Production - 3 month||0.7||-0.21||0.33|
|Manufacturing - 3 month||1.4||-0.23||0.37|
|Production - 1 month||-0.1||-0.13||*||0.27|
|Manufacturing - 1 month||0.5||-0.11||*||0.30|
Spreadsheets give revisions triangles (4 Mb ZIP) of estimates for all months from March 1998 through to the current month.
A statistical test has been applied to the average revisions to find out if they are statistically significantly different from zero. An asterisk (*) indicates if a figure has been found to be statistically significant from zero.
The table uses historical data for the most recent 60 months, comparing the estimate at first publication with the estimate as published 12 months later. The numbers which underpin these averages include normal changes due to late data and re-seasonal adjustment, but also significant methodological changes, the most recent being the introduction of the 2007 Standard Industrial Classification in October 2011.
Details of the policy governing the release of new data are available from the press office. Also available is a list of those given pre-publication access to the contents of this release.
A complete set of series in the statistical bulletin are available to download free of charge on the Data section of the Office for National Statistics website. Alternatively, for low-cost tailored data, call Online Services on 0845 601 3034
or email Customer Contact Centre.
The complete run of data in the tables of this statistical bulletin is also available to view and download in electronic format free of charge using the ONS Time Series Data service. Users can download the complete bulletin in a choice of zipped formats, or view and download their own selections of individual series.
ONS provides an analysis of past revisions in the IoP and other statistical bulletins (244.6 Kb Pdf) which present time series. Details can be found on the Office for National Statistics website.
ONS publishes revisions triangles (65.8 Kb Pdf) for all the main published key indicators on the Office for National Statistics website.
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publication: Tuesday 10 June 2014
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