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Statistical bulletin: Gross Domestic Product Preliminary Estimate, Q1 2013 This product is designated as National Statistics

Released: 25 April 2013 Download PDF

Key points

  • Users are reminded that figures in this release are estimates and are on a seasonally adjusted basis.
  • GDP increased by 0.3% in Q1 2013 compared with Q4 2012. GDP was 0.4% higher in Q1 2013 than in Q3 2011 and therefore has been broadly flat over the last 18 months.
  • By far the largest contribution to Q1 2013 GDP growth came from services; these industries increased by 0.6% contributing 0.47 percentage points (pp) to the 0.3% increase in GDP.
  • There was also a small upward contribution (0.03pp) from production; these industries rose by 0.2%, largely due to mining & quarrying, which increased by 3.2% following a weak Q4 2012 when extended maintenance in the North Sea reduced output.
  • These upward contributions were partially offset by construction; these industries fell by 2.5%, reducing GDP growth by 0.17pp.
  • Before the sharp fall in output in 2008 and 2009 the economy peaked in Q1 2008; the lowest level was in Q2 2009. GDP fell 6.3% from peak to trough. In Q1 2013 GDP was estimated to be 2.6% below the peak in Q1 2008.
  • At this stage the snowfall and cold weather during Q1 2013 appears to have had a limited impact on GDP growth. The strongest evidence was that it reduced retail output in January and March 2013 but boosted demand for electricity and gas in February and March, which increased output in the energy supply industries.
  • The preliminary estimate of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is produced using the output approach to measuring GDP and is published less than four weeks after the end of the quarter to which it relates. At this stage it is estimated that the information content of this estimate is around 44% of the total required for the final output based estimate. This includes good information for the first two months of the quarter, with an estimate for the third month which takes account of early returns to the monthly business survey of 44,000 businesses (which typically has a response rate of between 30-50% at this point in time). The estimate is therefore subject to revisions as more data becomes available, but between the preliminary and third estimates of GDP, revisions are typically small (around 0.1 to 0.2 percentage points), with the frequency of upward and downward revisions broadly equal.

Key figures

Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is one of the main indicators of economic growth. Further information on GDP can be found at paragraph 2 in the background notes. Unless otherwise stated, all data in this bulletin are seasonally adjusted estimates and have had the effect of price changes removed (in other words, the data are deflated). Further information on some of the key concepts (including seasonal adjustment and deflation) underlying the estimates can be found at paragraph 4 in the background notes.

Figure 1: GDP and main components

Figure 1: GDP and main components
Source: Office for National Statistics

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Users are reminded that GDP and all of its components are currently referenced to 2009, making the average index in 2009=100. It is for this reason that figure 1 shows all components converging in 2009.

GDP in the UK grew steadily from 2000 until early 2008, when a financial market shock affected UK and global economic growth. Up until that point, services in the UK had continued to grow steadily, while production output had been broadly flat across the same period. UK construction activity grew strongly at the start of the period before a slight fall in 2005 and 2006. Construction activity then recovered so that it was around 20% higher at the end of 2007 compared with the start of 2001. The deterioration in economic conditions during 2008 had a large effect on the construction and production sectors, but the effect on the service sector was less pronounced.

Coming out of the recession in 2008-09, the rate of GDP growth has been slower compared with the early-2000s, owing to weaknesses in the domestic and global markets. Services have continued to grow steadily from 2009, and ended 2012 above pre-recession levels seen at the start of 2008. Production began to decrease from the start of 2011 following a mild recovery in 2010, as increased inflation and slower wage growth began to reduce households’ real income. Compounding this subdued demand was the development of the euro area sovereign debt crisis, which affected business sentiment in the EU, a key export market for the UK. Construction activity saw a more marked increase than that of production in 2010. However, this was not sustained, with activity falling from the final quarter of 2011 due to a deteriorating economic outlook. Construction returned to growth in the final quarter of 2012, following five quarters of negative growth. This was short-lived, however, and construction has returned to negative growth again in Quarter 1 2013.

Table 1: Gross Domestic Product Preliminary Estimate key figures (Q1 2013)

  GDP Production Construction Services
    Percentage change on previous quarter
  GDP Index (2009=100) Weights 1000 156 68 770
               
2011 Q1 102.5   0.5 0.0 0.0 0.6
  Q2 102.6   0.1 -1.2 1.3 0.2
  Q3 103.2   0.6 -0.2 -0.1 0.8
  Q4 103.0   -0.1 -1.2 -0.5 0.0
2012 Q1 103.0   -0.1 -0.2 -5.7 0.3
  Q2 102.6   -0.4 -0.9 -2.4 -0.2
  Q3 103.6   0.9 0.5 -1.8 1.2
  Q4 103.2   -0.3 -2.1 0.8 0.0
2013 Q1 103.6   0.3 0.2 -2.5 0.6

Table source: Office for National Statistics

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Supplementary analysis

Figure 3: GDP Contributions to the quarter on quarter % change (Q1 2013)

Figure 3: GDP Contributions to the quarter on quarter % change (Q1 2013)
Source: Office for National Statistics

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The preliminary estimate of GDP focuses on the growth in output between two consecutive quarters (in this release Q4 2012 and Q1 2013). GDP increased by 0.3% in the first quarter of 2013. The largest contribution to the increase came from the services industries (as seen in figure 2) and there was also a small upward contribution from the production industries. These increases were partially offset by downward contributions from the construction and agriculture industries.

The services industries increased by 0.6% in the Q1 2013. This followed a flat Q4 2012 figure, which was affected by increased output in Q3 2012 due to the Olympic and Paralympic games. In the latest quarter there was widespread growth, with increases in most service sector industries.

The production industries increased by 0.2% in Q1 2013, following a decrease of 2.1% in the previous quarter. Mining & quarrying made a positive contribution to the quarter on quarter growth rate, increasing by 3.2%. The increase in mining & quarrying was due in part to the bounce back from the previous quarter, which included an extended and later than usual maintenance period at the UK’s largest North Sea oil field, which reduced oil & gas extraction in Q4 2012. The manufacturing industries fell by 0.3% in Q1 2013, following a decrease of 1.4% in the previous quarter. 

In Q1 2013, output in the construction industry was estimated to have fallen by 2.5% compared with Q4 2012.  Looking at published non-seasonally adjusted data in February 2013, the construction industries saw a general increase in all types of work following a fall in January.  However, this increase was weaker than expected and does not break the emerging underlying pattern of a fall in new work and repair and maintenance staying broadly flat.  Further, the data shows that public other new work excluding infrastructure (for example work on schools, offices and hospitals) has fallen over recent months, with January and February showing this type of work to be at its lowest level since monthly data became available.

Sector analysis

Index of production

The index of production increased by 0.2% in Q1 2013, following a decrease of 2.1% in the previous quarter. Mining and quarrying contributed the most to the increase, followed by electricity supply. Between Q1 2012 and Q1 2013 production output decreased by 2.3%.

Construction

Construction output decreased by 2.5% in Q1 2013, following an increase of 0.8% in the previous quarter. Between Q1 2012 and Q1 2013 construction output decreased by 5.9%.

Distribution, hotels & restaurants

The index for distribution, hotels & restaurants increased by 1.1% in Q1 2013, following a decrease of 0.6% in the previous quarter. The largest contributions to the increase were from motor trades and wholesale trade. Distribution, hotels & restaurants increased by 2.5% between Q1 2012 and Q1 2013.

Transport, storage & communication

The index for transport, storage & communication increased by 1.4% in Q1 2013, following an increase of 0.9% in the previous quarter. Land transport services and telecommunications made the largest contributions to the increase. Transport, storage & communication increased by 0.7% between Q1 2012 and Q1 2013.

Business services & finance

The index for business services & finance increased by 0.2% in Q1 2013, following an increase of 0.5% in the previous quarter. Legal activities made the largest positive contribution to the increase. Business services & finance increased by 1.6% between Q1 2012 and Q1 2013.

Government & other services

The index for government & other services increased by 0.5% in Q1 2013, following a decrease of 0.9% in the previous quarter. Government & other services increased by 1.2% between Q1 2012 and Q1 2013.

Growth and contributions to growth – output components

Table 2: Growth, quarter on quarter percentage, for the output components of GDP

Component 2012 Q1 2012 Q2 2012 Q3 2012 Q4 2013 Q1
Agriculture, forestry & fishing 0.2 -1.9 4.8 -0.5 -3.7
Total Production -0.2 -0.9 0.5 -2.1 0.2
    Mining & quarrying (Extraction) -2.9 -3.4 2.0 -10.7 3.2
    Manufacturing 0.0 -1.0 0.6 -1.4 -0.3
    Electricity, gas, steam & air (Utilities) 0.9 4.5 -2.5 2.2 0.5
    Water supply, sewerage etc. 1.0 -2.9 1.9 -1.2 0.0
Construction -5.7 -2.4 -1.8 0.8 -2.5
Total Services  0.3 -0.2 1.2 0.0 0.6
    Distribution, hotels & restaurants 0.0 0.1 1.8 -0.6 1.1
    Transport, storage & communication 1.0 -1.5 0.0 0.9 1.4
    Business services & finance 0.0 0.0 0.9 0.5 0.2
    Government & other services 0.6 0.0 1.6 -0.9 0.5
 

Table source: Office for National Statistics

Table notes:

  1. Components may not sum to totals due to rounding

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Table 3: Contributions to growth, quarter on quarter, for the output components of GDP

Component 2012 Q1  2012 Q2 2012 Q3 2012 Q4 2013 Q1
Agriculture, forestry & fishing 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0
Total Production 0.0 -0.1 0.1 -0.3 0.0
    Mining & quarrying (Extraction) -0.1 -0.1 0.0 -0.2 0.1
    Manufacturing 0.0 -0.1 0.1 -0.1 0.0
    Electricity, gas, steam & air (Utilities) 0.0 0.1 0.0 0.0 0.0
    Water supply, sewerage etc. 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0
Construction -0.4 -0.2 -0.1 0.1 -0.2
Total Services  0.2 -0.2 0.9 0.0 0.5
    Distribution, hotels & restaurants 0.0 0.0 0.2 -0.1 0.2
    Transport, storage & communication 0.1 -0.2 0.0 0.1 0.1
    Business services & finance 0.0 0.0 0.3 0.2 0.1
    Government & other services 0.1 0.0 0.4 -0.2 0.1

Table source: Office for National Statistics

Table notes:

  1. Components may not sum to totals due to rounding

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Table 4: Growth, year on year percentage, for the output components of GDP

Component 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012
Agriculture, forestry & fishing 6.1 -6.3 -1.5 -2.1 -2.2
Total Production -2.8 -9.1 2.1 -0.6 -2.4
    Mining & quarrying (Extraction) -6.2 -9.0 -4.3 -14.3 -10.7
    Manufacturing -2.5 -9.7 3.8 2.2 -1.5
    Electricity, gas, steam & air (Utilities) 0.3 -4.7 3.2 -4.5 0.9
    Water supply, sewerage etc. -1.6 -8.5 -0.9 5.0 -0.4
Construction -2.7 -13.5 7.9 2.4 -8.1
Total Services  -0.2 -2.1 1.1 1.2 1.2
    Distribution, hotels & restaurants -2.6 -4.1 1.4 0.7 0.6
    Transport, storage & communication -0.5 -5.7 2.8 0.5 0.0
    Business services & finance 0.8 -3.5 0.8 1.7 1.5
    Government & other services 0.0 2.8 0.6 1.1 1.6

Table source: Office for National Statistics

Table notes:

  1. Components may not sum to totals due to rounding

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Table 5: Contributions to growth, year on year, for the output components of GDP

Component 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012
Agriculture, forestry & fishing 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0
Total Production -0.5 -1.5 0.3 -0.1 -0.4
    Mining & quarrying (Extraction) -0.2 -0.2 -0.1 -0.3 -0.2
    Manufacturing -0.3 -1.1 0.4 0.2 -0.2
    Electricity, gas, steam & air (Utilities) 0.0 -0.1 0.0 -0.1 0.0
    Water supply, sewerage etc. 0.0 -0.1 0.0 0.1 0.0
Construction -0.2 -1.0 0.6 0.2 -0.6
Total Services  -0.2 -1.6 0.9 0.9 0.9
    Distribution, hotels & restaurants -0.4 -0.6 0.2 0.1 0.1
    Transport, storage & communication -0.1 -0.6 0.3 0.1 0.0
    Business services & finance 0.2 -1.0 0.2 0.5 0.4
    Government & other services 0.0 0.6 0.1 0.2 0.4

Table source: Office for National Statistics

Table notes:

  1. Components may not sum to totals due to rounding

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Assumptions made for March 2013 in the Quarter One 2013 Gross Domestic Product Preliminary Estimate

Background

The methods for producing the preliminary GDP estimate use monthly data for the first two months in the quarter and ‘nowcasts’ for estimating the third month. The nowcasts are reinforced by early responses to the ONS Monthly Business Survey (MBS) but the monthly response rate is generally lower at this stage (which typically has a response rate of between 30-50% at this point in time).

Each of the first two months includes monthly data from the MBS of 44,000 businesses, covering the production, manufacturing, services, retail and construction industries.

The nowcasts for March used the standard ONS method of fitting an autoregressive integrated moving average (ARIMA) model with adjustments made for Easter, Trading Days and outliers. The nowcasts are calculated for each individual industry level series (for example, food & beverage services).

Purpose of this section

This section provides details of the assumptions made for March 2013 for each of the main components of the output measure of GDP: services, production and construction.

Table 6: Index of Services (CVM, seasonally adjusted) month on month growth rates

Month 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013
January 0.3 -0.3 -0.1 -0.9 0.1 0.1 0.3
February  0.6 0.4 0.1 1.0 0.7 -0.5 0.8
March 0.4 -0.4 -0.5 0.4 1.0 0.7 0.1*
April 1.1 0.0 0.9 -0.7 -1.6 -0.6  
May 0.1 -0.7 -0.8 0.2 1.6 0.8  
June 0.4 -0.2 -0.1 0.3 -0.3 -1.4  
July 1.2 -0.9 0.9 0.1 0.6 1.4  
August 0.3 -0.2 0.0 0.0 -0.4 0.9  
September 0.2 -0.9 0.2 0.0 0.3 -0.6  
October -0.7 -0.1 0.3 -0.2 -0.6 0.2  
November 0.6 -0.9 0.0 0.0 0.8 0.0  
December 0.0 0.0 0.4 -0.5 0.2 -0.4  

Table source: Office for National Statistics

Table notes:

  1. *based on nowcasts and early responses to the March Monthly Business Survey

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It was estimated that there was a 0.1% rise in the output of the services industries between February and March 2013. This assumes very modest growth following a relatively strong increase in output between January and February 2013.

At the more detailed level, it was estimated that business services & finance increased by 0.3% and government & other services by 0.5% between February and March, largely offset by a 0.8% fall in transport, storage & communication. It was estimated that growth was flat for distribution, hotels & restaurants over the same period.

The services data for January and February 2013 used in the calculation of the quarter one 2013 gross domestic product preliminary estimate are consistent with the data contained in the February 2013 Index of Services release published on 25 April 2013.

Table 7: Index of Production (CVM, seasonally adjusted) month on month growth rates

Month 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013
January 0.6 -0.2 -1.6 0.6 0.7 -0.3 -1.3
February  -0.2 0.3 -0.7 0.2 -1.2 0.2 1.0
March 0.2 -1.3 -0.7 2.0 0.1 -0.4 0.3*
April -0.8 0.3 1.2 -0.1 -1.2 -0.7  
May 1.7 -0.6 -1.0 0.6 0.4 1.2  
June -0.8 -0.6 0.4 -0.6 0.2 -2.4  
July -0.2 -0.8 0.2 0.4 -0.3 2.9  
August 0.2 0.7 -2.1 0.3 -0.3 -0.5  
September -0.6 -0.3 0.6 0.2 0.0 -2.3  
October 0.5 -2.5 0.6 -0.3 -1.0 -0.8  
November 0.2 -3.0 0.3 0.3 -0.2 0.1  
December 0.0 -1.5 -0.6 0.1 0.4 1.1  

Table source: Office for National Statistics

Table notes:

  1. *based on nowcasts and early responses to the March Monthly Business Survey

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Month on month growth rates for the production industries have swung between positive and negative changes of around 1.0% since December 2012. This was largely due to manufacturing, although the mining & quarrying industries also contributed.

Following this volatility, it was estimated that there was an increase of 0.3% in output of the production industries between February and March. This assumes, similar to the services industries, modest growth following a relatively strong increase in February.

At the more detailed level, it was estimated that increases of 0.8% in manufacturing, 2.3% in energy supply and 0.4% in water & waste management were partially offset by a fall of 4.3% in mining & quarrying. The sharp rise in energy supply reflects increased demand for heating given that March 2013 was the coldest month of the winter and the coldest March since 1962.

Small revisions (following new seasonal adjustment, allowing for the addition of March data) to the January and February 2013 estimates published in last Index of Production (IoP) release on 9 April 2013 have been used in the calculation of the quarter one 2013 gross domestic product preliminary estimate. To retain coherence between the published monthly and quarterly indices for quarter one 2013, small adjustments have been made to the monthly growth rates for March 2013 for total production, mining & quarrying, energy supply and water & waste management. This ensures that if the monthly growth rates for March are applied to the published February 2013 indices for total production and the main components, and then an average is taken of the January, February and March 2013 indices, the results are consistent with the published quarterly indices.

Table 8: Output in the construction industry (constant price, non seasonally adjusted) month on month growth rates

Month 2010 2011 2012 2013
January   -6.8 -13.1 -4.8
February  16.3 10.2 7.1 5.5
March 18.6 19.4 14.5 14.9*
April -9.5 -12.4 -12.4  
May 2.9 3.7 7.1  
June 7.5 6.0 -3.1  
July -1.4 -2.3 2.7  
August 3.5 0.8 0.3  
September -1.3 -0.2 -3.4  
October -0.2 -1.0 8.4  
November 0.4 2.1 -2.0  
December -14.8 -10.0 -15.8  

Table source: Office for National Statistics

Table notes:

  1. *based on early responses to the March Monthly Business Survey

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Monthly data for the construction industries are only available from January 2010, and only on a non-seasonally adjusted basis. This makes it difficult to nowcast in the same way as for services and production and leads us to place more weight on the early MBS responses for March.

Early responses from businesses were the starting point to inform the nowcast for construction; this was then adjusted (using information collected in previous months) in recognition that these early responses from businesses tend to be lower than later responses. This approach led to an estimated 14.9% rise between February and March 2013 (in terms of constant price non-seasonally adjusted). This estimate was similar to the increase between the same two months in 2012 but lower than those in 2010 and 2011. This is despite the growth in 2013 being the lowest for a February since the start of monthly data collection in 2010.

The construction data for January and February 2013 used in the calculation of the quarter one 2013 gross domestic product preliminary estimate are consistent with the data contained in the February 2013 Output in the Construction Industry release published on 12 April 2013.

Background notes

  1. What's New?

    Special Events in 2012
    There have been a number of special events in 2012. This commentary is intended to help users to interpret the statistics in the light of these events. As explained in ONS’s Special Events policy, it is not possible to separate the effects of special events from other changes in the series.

    The Diamond Jubilee celebrations saw changes to the normal pattern of bank holidays in May and June, and an additional day's holiday in June; all of these changes affected estimates for Quarter 2 of 2012, and an article gave more information on how the estimates were compiled over this period. The Olympics took place from 27 July to 12 August 2012 (with a few events starting on 25 July), and the Paralympics from 29 August to 9 September. The effect of the Olympics and Paralympics were reflected in the estimates for the months of Quarter 3 of 2012. More details of how certain series were expected to be affected were given in an Information Note. A detailed article describing possible effects on GDP and comparing with earlier Olympic Games was published by ONS on 25 October. Wider effects, for example the presence of the Olympics influencing the number of non-Olympics tourist visits, may of course have affected any of the summer months.

    The result of these special events in 2012 has been to introduce additional uncertainty in the interpretation of movements between Q2 and Q3 and between Q3 and Q4. Users should therefore consider all the information available when interpreting the statistics.

  2. Continuous Improvement of GDP: sources, methods and communication

    An article providing an overview of current and planned continuous improvement work in relation to producing estimates of quarterly and annual GDP can be found in the Guidance and Methodology area

  3. Understanding the data

    Short guide to GDP
    Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is an integral part of the UK national accounts and provides a measure of the total economic activity in the UK. GDP is often referred to as one of the main 'summary indicators' of economic activity and references to 'growth in the economy' invariably refer to the growth in GDP during the latest quarter.

    In the UK three different but equivalent approaches are used in the estimation of GDP:

    • GDP from the output or production approach - GDP(O) measures the sum of the value added created through the production of goods and services within the economy (our production or output as an economy). This approach provides the first estimate of GDP and can be used to show how much different industries (for example, agriculture) contribute within the economy.

    • GDP from the income approach - GDP(I) measures the total income generated by the production of goods and services within the economy. The figures breakdown this income into, for example, income earned by companies (corporations), employees and the self employed.

    • GDP from the expenditure approach - GDP(E) measures the total expenditures on all finished goods and services produced within the economy.

  4. Interpreting the data

    Figures for the most recent quarter are provisional and subject to revision in light of (a) late responses to surveys and administrative sources, (b) forecasts being replaced by actual data and (c) revisions to seasonal adjustment factors which are re-estimated every quarter and reviewed annually.

  5. Definitions and explanations

    Definitions found within the main statistical bulletin:

    Index number 
    An index number is a number which indicates the change in magnitude relative to the magnitude at a specified point, the latter usually taken as 100. For example, the level of GDP for Q1 2013 is given in Table 1 as 103.6. This means that GDP is 3.6% higher than the reference point, which in the case of GDP is 2009.

    Seasonal adjustment  
    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 effect of the day of the week and Easter are used respectively to make trading day and Easter adjustments prior to seasonal adjustment.

    Deflation  
    It is standard practice to present many economic statistics in terms of ‘constant prices’. This means that changes or growth are not affected by changes in price. The process of removing price changes is known as deflation and the resulting series is often described as volume (as opposed to value). The index numbers in this bulletin are volumes.

    Chained volume 
    The indices in this bulletin are ‘chained volume’. This means that successive volume estimates are linked (or chained) together. The process of annual chain-linking was introduced in 2003. More information on chain-linking can be found in the Tuke and Reed (2001) (92.8 Kb Pdf) article.

    Sample sizes and data content 
    This is the first estimate of GDP, based on preliminary information for the quarter. Although based on a significant number of returns from businesses, there is still a lot of information to come in, particularly for March.

    The amount of data available at this stage is about 45% of the total data that will be available in one years’ time. The estimates in this release are, however, based on a large amount of information returned by businesses across the whole of the economy. Information on activity (more specifically, turnover or sales) is available from about 44,000 businesses for each of the first two months of the quarter and from about 20,000 businesses for the third month. In addition, the ONS collects price information on nearly 200,000 individual products each month from around 30,000 businesses. This information is used to remove the effect of price changes from the estimates.

  6. Quality

    Basic Quality Information
    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 statements 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.

    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.

  7. Summary Quality Report

    A Summary quality report (518.9 Kb Pdf) for the Gross Domestic Product Preliminary Estimate release is provided on the National Statistics website.

    This report describes, in detail the intended uses of the statistics presented in this publication, their general quality and the methods used to produce them.

  8. National Accounts revisions policy

    In accordance with the National Accounts revision policy, there are no periods open for revision in this release.

    This release includes information available up to 18 April 2013.

    The National Accounts revision policy (27.8 Kb Pdf) is available.

  9. Revisions Triangles

    Spreadsheets giving revisions triangles (real time databases) of estimates from 1992 to date are available to download. They can be found under the section Revisions triangles for gross value added at basic prices, chained volume measure.

    The revisions triangles for the components of GDP have been temporarily removed following the recent move to the new SIC. They will be reinstated shortly. The revisions triangles for total GDP are still available and the service sector analysis is still separately available on a monthly basis via the Index of Services dataset.

    Revisions to data provide one indication of the reliability of key indicators. Tables 9 and 10 show summary information on the size and direction of the revisions which have been made to data covering a five year period. A statistical test has been applied to the average revision to find out if it is statistically significantly different from zero. The result of the test is that the average revision is not statistically different from zero.

    Table 9 below shows the revisions between the early estimates of GVA. The analysis of revisions between month 1 and month 2 uses month 2 estimates published from May 2008 (2008 Q1) to February 2013 (2012 Q4). The analysis of revisions between month 2 and month 3 uses month 3 estimates published from June 2008 (2008 Q1) to March 2013 (2012 Q4).

    Table 9: Revisions to Early Estimates of GVA Growth

    GVA Growth in the latest period % Revisions between early estimates of GVA growth (quarterly, CVM)
    Revisions to GVA growth Average over the last five years  Average over the last five years without regard to sign (average absolute revision)
    Between M1 and M2 -0.3 0.03 0.07
    Between M2 and M3 -0.3 -0.05 0.09

    Table source: Office for National Statistics

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    Table 10 below shows the revisions to GVA growth between the estimate published three months after the end of the quarter and the equivalent estimate three years later. The analysis uses month 3 estimates first published from June 2005 (2005 Q1) to March 2010 (2009 Q4).

    Table 10: Revisions to month 3 estimates of GVA growth

    GVA growth in the latest period % Revisions between early estimates of GVA growth (quarterly, CVM)
    Revisions to GVA growth Average over the last five years  Average over the last five years without regard to sign (average absolute revision)
    GVA growth (quarterly CVM) -0.3 -0.04 0.36

    Table source: Office for National Statistics

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    An article titled 'Understanding the quality of early estimates of Gross Domestic Product' (122.9 Kb Pdf) , which was first published in December 2009, is available on the National Statistics website.

    This article presents an analysis of revisions to the early estimates of GDP based on a long period database of real time GDP back to 1955. This database is regularly updated and is available on the ONS website.

  10. Following ONS

    You can follow ONS on Twitter, Facebook or view the latest podcasts on YouTube.

  11. Publication policy

    Details of the policy governing the release of new data are available from the press office. Also available is a Pre release Access 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 within the data section of this publication

  12. Code of Practice for Official Statistics

    National Statistics are produced to high professional standards set out in the Code of Practice for Official Statistics. They undergo regular quality assurance reviews to ensure that they meet customer needs. They are produced free from any political interference.

    Code of Practice

    The UK Statistics Authority has designated these statistics as National Statistics, in accordance with the Statistics and Registration Service Act 2007 and signifying compliance with the Code of Practice for Official Statistics.

    Designation can be broadly interpreted to mean that the statistics:

    • meet identified user needs;

    • are well explained and readily accessible;

    • are produced according to sound methods, and

    • are managed impartially and objectively in the public interest.

    Once statistics have been designated as National Statistics it is a statutory requirement that the Code of Practice shall continue to be observed.

  13. Next publication: Thursday 23 May 2013 (Second Estimate of GDP)

  14. Details of the policy governing the release of new data are available by visiting www.statisticsauthority.gov.uk/assessment/code-of-practice/index.html or from the Media Relations Office email: media.relations@ons.gsi.gov.uk

Statistical contacts

Name Phone Department Email
Luke Croydon +44 (0)845 6041858 Media Relations media.relations@ons.gsi.gov.uk
Luke Croydon +44 (0)7867 906553 Emergency on-call media.relations@ons.gsi.gov.uk
Robert Doody +44 (0)1633 455803 Office for National Statistics ios.enquiries@ons.gsi.gov.uk
Contact us +44 (0)845 6013034 Office for National Statistics info@ons.gov.uk
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