Index of Services, UK: September 2020

Movements in the volume of output for the UK services industries. Figures are seasonally adjusted.

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Release date:
12 November 2020

Next release:
10 December 2020

1. Main points

  • There was a rise of 1.0% in the Index of Services (IoS) between August 2020 and September 2020; the largest contribution to monthly growth came from professional, scientific and technical activities, rising by 3.9%.

  • In September 2020, the IoS was 8.8% below February 2020, the previous month of "normal" trading conditions, prior to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

  • There were four industries that failed to reach 50% of their pre-February 2020 level; these were travel agencies, air transport, rail transport, and creative, arts and entertainment.

  • Total services output increased by 14.2% in Quarter 3 (July to Sept) 2020, compared with Quarter 2 (Apr to June) 2020, the largest rise since records began in January 1997; this was led by wholesale and retail trade; repair of motor vehicles and motorcycles, rising by 30.7%.

  • Services output between the three months to September 2019 and the three months to September 2020 decreased by 10.0%.

  • The coronavirus pandemic had a significant negative impact on the output of the services industries during September 2020; for further and detailed analysis of the effect on our monthly IoS estimate, please see our article, Coronavirus and the impact on output in the UK economy, UK: September 2020, published today (12 November 2020).

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2. Index of Services data

Index of Services time series
Dataset | Dataset ID: IOS1 | Released 12 November 2020
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 November 2020
Monthly Business Survey (MBS) 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 November 2020
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 November 2020
Monthly chained volume indices in gross value added for services and its main components.

All data related to the Index of Services (IoS) are available on the Related data page.

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3. Measuring the data

Data sources and collection

The Index of Services (IoS) is compiled using data from several different sources:

  • 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 MBS turnover in services industries.

Data relating to the retail industry are broadly comparable with Retail sales, Great Britain: September 2020, published on 23 October 2020.

For further information on what is included within Other, please see the GDP(o) data sources catalogue.

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 the 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 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 the IoS QMI.

Leaving the EU

As the UK leaves the EU, it is important that our statistics continue to be of high quality and are internationally comparable. During the transition period, those UK statistics that align with EU practice and rules will continue to do so in the same way as before 31 January 2020.

After the transition period, we will continue to produce our national accounts statistics in line with the UK Statistics Authority's Code of Practice for Statistics and in accordance with internationally agreed statistical guidance and standards.

The Withdrawal Agreement outlines a need for UK gross national income (a fundamental component of the national accounts, which includes gross domestic product (GDP)) statistics to remain in line with those of other EU countries until the EU budgets are finalised for the years in which we were a member. To ensure comparability during this cycle, the national accounts will continue to be produced according to European System of Accounts (ESA) 2010 definitions and standards.

Coronavirus (COVID-19)

The MBS is fully online, meaning that business owners can log-on from any location and submit their data at an appropriate time. Most other data in the IoS come from within the Office for National Statistics (ONS) and therefore will be less impacted than survey data.

Our latest data and analysis on the impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) on the UK economy and population is now available on a web page. This is the hub for all special virus-related publications, drawing on all available data.

The ONS has released a public statement on COVID-19 and the production of statistics. Specific queries must be directed to the Media Relations Office.

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Contact details for this Statistical bulletin

Mark Stephens
Telephone: +44 (0)1633 456387