The Index of Services is estimated to have increased by 2.8% in April 2015 compared with April 2014. All of the 4 main components of the services industries increased in the most recent month compared with the same month a year ago
The largest contributions came from: business services and finance, which contributed 1.2 percentage points to total growth; and distribution, hotels and restaurants, which contributed 0.9 percentage points to total growth
The latest Index of Services estimates show that output increased by 0.2% between March 2015 and April 2015, following an increase of 0.1% between February 2015 and March 2015
The Index of Services increased by 0.4% in Quarter 1 (Jan to Mar) 2015 compared with Quarter 4 (Oct to Dec) 2014. This figure was unrevised from the estimate of 0.4% used in the Second Estimate of GDP, published on 28 May 2015 and is consistent with the Quarterly National Accounts, published on 30 June 2015
The figures within this release are estimates and are on a seasonally adjusted basis. The earliest period open for revision in this release is January 2014
About the IoS
The monthly IoS provides a timely indicator of growth in the output of the services industries. The IoS is an important economic indicator and shares exactly the same industry coverage as the corresponding quarterly series within UK gross domestic product (GDP). The primary purpose of the IoS is to produce a short-term measure of the output of the services industries within the UK economy and show the monthly movements in the gross value added (GVA) of the service industries (2007 Standard Industrial Classification (SIC 2007) sections G to T).
The 4 main components of the services industries are:
distribution, hotels and restaurants
transport, storage and communication
business services and finance
government and other services
The IoS is the largest contributor to the output approach to the measurement of GDP, accounting for 78.4% of UK GDP as at 2011.
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 main concepts (including seasonal adjustment and deflation) underlying the estimates can be found in background note 10.
The quality of the IoS
The IoS is published around 8 weeks after the end of the reference month. There is no simple way of measuring the accuracy of the IoS, that is, the extent to which the estimate measures the underlying “true” value of the output growth (of the services industries) in the UK for a particular period. All estimates, by definition, are subject to statistical uncertainty and for many well-established statistics the Office for National Statistics (ONS) measures and publishes the sampling error associated with the estimate, using this as an indicator of accuracy. However, as IoS is constructed from a wide variety of data sources, some of which are not based on random samples, we don’t publish a measure of the sampling error associated with the IoS.
Reliability is one dimension of measuring accuracy, using evidence from analyses of revisions to assess the closeness of early estimates to subsequent estimated values. Revisions are an inevitable consequence of the trade-off between timeliness and accuracy. Figures for the most recent months are provisional and subject to revision in light of:
late responses to surveys and administrative sources
forecasts being replaced by actual data
revisions to seasonal adjustment factors, which are re-estimated every month and reviewed annually
Revisions to the IoS are typically small (around 0.1 to 0.2 percentage points), with the frequency of upward and downward revisions broadly equal. More information on the most recent revisions analysis can be found in the component analysis section and in background note 15.
It should be noted that care should be taken when using the month-on-month growth rates, due to their volatility (background note 9).
Further information on the quality of the IoS is available in the Quality of the IoS (29 Kb Pdf) report on the Index of Services Methods web page on our website. It should be noted that as part of the IoS industry review process, we are continually working on methodological changes to improve the accuracy of the IoS.Back to table of contents
Table 1: Index of Services main information, April 2015
|Index number (2011=100)||Most recent month on a year earlier||Most recent 3 months on a year earlier||Most recent month on previous month||Most recent 3 months on previous 3 months|
|Index of services||109.4||2.8||3.0||0.2||0.5|
|Source: Office for National Statistics|
Download this table Table 1: Index of Services main information, April 2015.xls (32.8 kB)
The Index of Services (IoS) measures the quantity of output from all UK services industries, which account for more than three-quarters of the output approach to the measurement of gross domestic product. Index values are presently referenced to 2011 so that the average for 2011 is equal to 100. Therefore, an index value of 110 would indicate that output is 10% higher than the average for 2011.
As seen in Figure 1, the IoS increased by 2.8% in April 2015 compared with April 2014. In order of their contribution to growth (listed in reference table IOS1):
business services and finance increased by 3.0%
distribution, hotels and restaurants increased by 5.1%
transport, storage and communication increased by 3.6%
government and other services increased by 0.6%
Further detail on these movements can be found in the component analysis section.
Between March 2015 and April 2015, as seen in Figure 2, the IoS increased by 0.2%.
Out of the 4 main components of the services industries, 2 increased in the most recent month compared with the previous month. In order of their contribution to growth (listed in reference table IOS1):
distribution, hotels and restaurants increased by 0.9%
transport, storage and communication increased by 0.6%
Business services and finance remained flat with a change of 0.0%, but made a slight downward contribution due to unrounded data being slightly negative. In contrast, government and other services decreased by 0.1%.
More detail on individual components can be found in the IOSCOMP tables in the data section of this bulletin. The tables also provide information on the growth for the 3 months ending in April 2015 compared with the previous 3 months and compared with the 3 months ending April 2014.
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Total services grew by 3.1% between Quarter 1 (Jan to Mar) 2014 and Quarter 1 (Jan to Mar) 2015, and by 0.4% between Quarter 4 (Oct to Dec) 2014 and Quarter 1 (Jan to Mar) 2015. This is compared with growth rates of 2.9% and 0.4% for the economy as a whole.
Historically, the services industries have grown at a faster rate than all other headline industries. While GDP has grown at an average compound annual rate of 2.0% since 1997, services has grown at an average compound annual rate of 2.8% (more information can be found in Quarterly National Accounts). This has led to a continuing re-orientation of the economy towards services, despite productivity in the services industries rising more slowly than in the production industries (and manufacturing in particular) since 1997 (more information can be found in Labour Productivity, Quarter 4 (Oct to Dec) 2014). The higher output growth, therefore, reflects the increasing share of the labour force employed in services, which grew from 73% to 79% between 1997 and 2014 (Labour Market Statistics, June 2015, reference table EMP13).
Figure 3 shows the share of gross value added accounted for by services in the UK and in other G7 economies (more information on data for France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the USA can be found on the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) website). In 1997 the share of gross value added accounted for by services in the UK was just under 70%, around the middle of the range relative to the other G7 economies. By 2013 its share had risen to almost 80%, therefore the UK economy has become the most reliant on services among the G7 countries considered.
In addition to strong long-run growth, the services industries were also less affected by the downturn in 2008 than other industries, such as production and construction, and subsequently recovered more quickly. The services industries have been mainly responsible for the recovery of the economy as a whole, being the only industry grouping to have surpassed its pre-downturn peak.
We have looked at the growth rates of the different industry groupings since 1997 in previous releases of the Index of Services.Back to table of contents
With a weight of 78.4%, the services industries are the largest industrial grouping in the output approach to measuring GDP. The releases for the short-term economic indicators that feed directly into the output approach to measuring GDP include a table detailing growth in the 4 main industrial groupings (Table 2). This will aid understanding of the relationship between the individual short-term releases and GDP output.
In Quarter 1 (Jan to Mar) 2015, GDP was estimated to have increased by 0.4% compared with the previous quarter. The contribution an industry grouping makes to the GDP quarterly growth is dependent on the quarterly change in that industry grouping and its weight within the output approach to measuring GDP.
Monthly estimates are produced for each industrial grouping except agriculture. The April 2015 estimates for production and construction were published on 10 June 2015 and 12 June 2015 respectively. Quarterly National Accounts for Quarter 1 (Jan to Mar) 2015 was published on 30 June 2015, alongside this bulletin.
Table 2: GDP output component tables, Quarter 1 (Jan to Mar) 2015, chained volume measure, seasonally adjusted
|Publication||% of GDP||Release date||Period of GDP||Most recent quarter on a year earlier||Most recent quarter on a quarter earlier||Most recent month on the same month a year ago||Most recent month on the previous month|
|Index of Production||14.6||10 Jun||Apr 2015||..||..||1.2||0.4|
|Construction output||6.4||12 Jun||Apr 2015||..||..||1.5||-0.8|
|Index of Services||78.4||30 Jun||Apr 2015||..||..||2.8||0.2|
|Retail Sales||18 Jun||Apr 2015||..||..||4.6||0.9|
|Source: Office for National Statistics|
|1. Q1 is Quarter 1 (Jan to Mar)|
|2. Q4 is Quarter 4 (Oct to Dec)|
|3. No data represented by ..|
Download this table Table 2: GDP output component tables, Quarter 1 (Jan to Mar) 2015, chained volume measure, seasonally adjusted.xls (35.8 kB)
Table 3: Growth rates and contributions to the Index of Services, April 2015
|Description||% of Services||Month on a year earlier Volume (SA2) (%)||Contribution to services (% points)||Month on month growth Volume (SA) (%)||Contribution to services (% points)|
|Total services industries||100||2.8||2.8||0.2||0.2|
|Distribution, hotels and restaurants||18||5.1||0.9||0.9||0.2|
|Transport, storage and communication||13||3.6||0.5||0.6||0.1|
|Business services and finance||39||3.0||1.2||0.0||0.0|
|Government and other services||30||0.6||0.2||-0.1||0.0|
|Source: Office for National Statistics|
|1. Individual contributions may not sum to the total due to rounding|
|2. SA = seasonally adjusted|
Download this table Table 3: Growth rates and contributions to the Index of Services, April 2015.xls (55.8 kB)
Distribution, hotels and restaurants
The index of distribution, hotels and restaurants increased by 5.1% in April 2015 compared with April 2014, following an increase of 4.0% in March 2015 compared with the same month a year earlier. The main contributors to the increase were: retail trade, except of motor vehicles and motorcycles, which rose by 4.5%; wholesale and retail trade and repair of motor vehicles and motorcycles, which rose by 7.6%; and wholesale trade, except of motor vehicles and motorcycles, which rose by 3.7%.
Transport, storage and communication
The index of transport, storage and communication increased by 3.6% in April 2015 compared with April 2014, following an increase of 4.2% in March 2015 compared with the same month a year earlier. The main contributors to the increase were: computer programming, consultancy and related activities, which rose by 5.3%; land transport, which rose by 6.2%; and publishing audiovisual and broadcasting activities, which rose by 2.9%.
Business services and finance
The index of business services and finance increased by 3.0% in April 2015 compared with April 2014, following an increase of 3.4% in March 2015 compared with the same month a year earlier. The main contributors to the increase were: other professional service activities, which rose by 6.4%; administrative and support services activities, which rose by 5.5%; and real estate activities, which rose by 2.3%.
Government and other services
The index of government and other services increased by 0.6% in April 2015 compared with April 2014, following an increase of 0.9% in March 2015 compared with the same month a year earlier. The main contributors to the increase were: human health and social work activities, which rose by 2.1%; activities of households as employers of domestic personnel, which rose by 13.1%; and other service activities, which rose by 1.8%.
The Index of Services (IoS) follows the National Accounts Revisions policy (43.3 Kb Pdf) . Revisions are caused by a number of factors including, but not limited to:
revisions to source data due to late responses
actual data replacing forecast data
revisions to seasonal factors that are re-estimated every period
More information on IoS revisions is available on the Index of Services Methods page.
We produce revisions triangles of services growth to provide users with one indication of the reliability of this main indicator. Statistical tests are performed on the average revision to test if it is statistically significantly different to 0. Further information can be found in background note 16.
In this release of data, the earliest period open to revision is January 2014. Across this open period, there are minimal revisions to the month-on-a-year ago and month-on-month growth rates. The growth rate for March 2015 compared with March 2014 was revised up by 0.1 percentage points from the previous estimate of 2.8%. However, the month-on-month growth rate for March 2015 compared with February 2015 (0.1%) was unrevised.
Further detail on the revisions to the IoS components can be found in the RIOS1 tables in the data section of this publication.Back to table of contents
According to the UK Standard Industrial Classification 2007 (SIC2007), renting and leasing services (industry 77) cover the renting or leasing of most non-financial assets (financial leasing and renting of real estate is included elsewhere in the accounts). Some of these assets are intangible, such as patents or mineral exploration rights, but the largest proportion of output can be attributed to the rental of tangible assets. Vehicle rental accounted for approximately 45% in 2014, but rental of other machinery is also an important part of the industry. A smaller proportion, around 6%, of the industry consists of renting sports and recreational equipment, such as canoes or beach umbrellas among other items.
The performance of the renting and leasing industry was similar to the entire service industries from 1990 to 2008, growing at an average compound annual rate of 3.7% relative to 3.2% for the entire services industries. However, since 2011, renting and leasing activities have increased sharply, growing by 34% in volume terms between 2011 and 2014. The majority of this increase can be attributed to vehicle rental and leasing. Output in this sub-industry may have been affected by the availability of a number of alternative finance schemes which could have made leasing a car a more attractive option.
A large part of this industry consists of renting and leasing of equipment that can be used in the production of goods or services, such as crane lorries, or office equipment. Businesses may decide that this is a good alternative to investing in their own capital; renting and leasing of this kind of equipment has been growing faster than total investment (as measured by gross fixed capital formation, Quarterly National Accounts) since 1997.
This may provide more flexibility for firms, if the type of assets they need in the production process is liable to change. For example, the industry which utilises the most renting and leasing as intermediate consumption is the construction industry, which accounted for 33% of intermediate consumption demand in 2012 (Input-Output Supply and Use tables, 2014 edition). This is an industry that is generally accepted to be largely project based, so it may often make more sense to rent equipment as appropriate, rather than invest in assets that may not be suitable for future projects.Back to table of contents
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