1. Main points
- Monthly services output is estimated to have fallen 0.5% in March 2023, following a fall of 0.1% in February 2023 (unrevised) and a rise of 0.8% in January 2023 (upwardly revised 0.1 percentage points).
- In the longer-term, quarterly services output growth for Quarter 1 (Jan to Mar) 2023 was 0.1%, compared with Quarter 4 (Oct to Dec) 2022; this is the eighth consecutive quarterly increase in services growth; however, the rate of quarterly growth continued to slow during that period.
- The Index of Services (IoS) saw monthly falls in 9 of the 14 sectors; the main contributing sectors to the monthly fall in March 2023 were wholesale and retail trade; repair of motor vehicles and motorcycles (negative 1.4%), which contributed negative 0.15 percentage points to the IoS decrease; information and communication (negative 1.1%) and administrative and support service activities (negative 1.3%) also had notable falls and contributed negative 0.10 percentage points each to the monthly decrease.
- This was partially offset by arts, entertainment and recreation (1.5%), which contributed 0.03 percentage points, and real estate activities (0.1%), which contributed 0.02 percentage points to the IoS growth in March 2023.
- The IoS is 0.6% below February 2020, which was the last month of "normal" trading conditions prior to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic; currently, 8 of the 14 services sectors are above their February 2020 pre-coronavirus pandemic level.
- The main sectors contributing positively to growth in Quarter 1 2023 were information and communication and administrative and support service activities, which increased by 1.2% and 1.3%, respectively; these were partially offset by falls in education, human health and social work activities, transportation and storage, and public administration and defence, which saw decreases of 0.7%, 0.5%, 1.0%, and 0.7% respectively (these four sectors have all been affected by industrial action in Quarter 1 2023, but it is not possible to quantify to what extent).
- For further and detailed analysis of the effect on our monthly IoS estimate, please see our GDP monthly estimate, UK: March 2023 article, published on 12 May 2023.
2. Index of Services data
Index of Services time series Dataset | Dataset ID: IOS1 | Released 12 May 2023 Monthly movements in output for the services industries: distribution, hotels and restaurants; transport, storage and communication; business services and finance; and government and other services.
Monthly Business Survey turnover of services industries Dataset | Released 12 May 2023 Monthly Business Survey services industries' total turnover - current price and non-seasonally adjusted, UK.
Index of Services, main components and sectors to four decimal places Dataset | Released 12 May 2023 Monthly historical movements in output for services and their industry components, by chained volume indices of gross value added, UK.
Index of Services revisions triangles Dataset | Released 12 May 2023 Monthly chained volume indices in gross value added for services and its main components.
All data related to the Index of Services are available on the Related data page.
3. Measuring the data
Data sources and collection
The Index of Services (IoS) is compiled using data from several different sources:
- Office for National Statistics (ONS) Monthly Business Survey (44.4%)
- ONS Retail Sales Inquiry (6.4%)
- ONS Government Expenditure (20.1%)
- ONS Households' Expenditure (15.3%)
- ONS Finance Expenditure (7.8%)
- Other (5.9%)
The Monthly Business Survey (MBS) data are published alongside this release in our MBS turnover of services industries dataset.
Data relating to the retail industry are broadly comparable with our Retail sales, Great Britain: March 2023 bulletin, published on 21 April 2023.
For further information on what is included within Other, please see our GDP(o) data sources catalogue.
The percentage of each data source is based on their gross value added weight. The GDP(o) methods and sources pages provide more information on the data that underpin these statistics; of particular note is our GDP(o) data sources catalogue.
From February 2018, value added tax (VAT) data have also been included across 64 production industries for small- and medium-sized businesses. For more information, see our VAT turnover data in National Accounts: background and methodology.
Quality and methodology
More quality and methodology information on strengths, limitations, appropriate uses, and how the data were created is available in our Index of Services QMI.
Economic statistics governance after Brexit
Following the UK's exit from the EU, new governance arrangements are being put in place that will support the adoption and implementation of high-quality standards for UK economic statistics. These governance arrangements will promote international comparability and add to the credibility and independence of the UK's statistical system.
At the centre of this new governance framework will be the new National Statistician's Committee for Advice on Standards for Economic Statistics (NSCASE). NSCASE will support the UK by ensuring its processes for influencing and adopting international statistical standards are world leading. The advice NSCASE provides to the National Statistician will span the full range of domains in economic statistics. This includes the National Accounts, fiscal statistics, prices, trade, and the balance of payments and labour market statistics.
Revisions to IoS
In line with our National Accounts revision policy, this release (published on 12 May 2023), is open to revision for periods January and February 2023.Back to table of contents
5. Cite this statistical bulletin
Office for National Statistics (ONS), released 12 May 2023, ONS website, statistical bulletin, Index of Services, UK: March 2023
Contact details for this Statistical bulletin
Telephone: +44 1633 456616