GDP monthly estimate, UK: November 2018

Gross domestic product (GDP) measures the value of goods and services produced in the UK. It estimates the size of and growth in the economy.

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Release date:
11 January 2019

Next release:
11th February 2019

1. UK gross domestic product (GDP) grew by 0.3% in the three months to November 2018

Commenting on today’s GDP figures Head of National Accounts Rob Kent-Smith said:

“Growth in the UK economy continued to slow in the three months to November 2018 after performing more strongly through the middle of the year. Accountancy and housebuilding again grew but a number of other areas were sluggish.

“Manufacturing saw a steep decline, with car production and the often-erratic pharmaceutical industry both performing poorly.”

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2. The services and construction sectors drove GDP growth, although contraction in the production sector contributed negatively

Rolling three-month growth in the services sector was 0.3%, making the sector the largest contributor to gross domestic product (GDP) growth. The construction sector also had a positive contribution, with rolling three-month growth of 2.1%. However, growth of negative 0.8% in the production sector acted as a drag on GDP growth.

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3. Rolling three-month growth continued its slowdown after a strong summer

Rolling three-month growth was 0.3% in November 2018, continuing the return to moderate growth rates after some volatility earlier in the year, in part related to the weather.

Rolling three-month growth is based on output gross value added (GVA) and therefore there will be discrepancies in the time series with our quarterly estimates of gross domestic product (GDP), which include information on the expenditure and income approaches to measuring GDP.

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4. GDP grew by 0.2% in November 2018

Monthly gross domestic product (GDP) growth was 0.2% in November 2018, following flat growth in September 2018 and growth of 0.1% in October 2018.

The monthly growth rate for GDP is volatile and therefore it should be used with caution and alongside other measures such as the three-month growth rate when looking for an indicator of the longer-term trend of the economy. However, it is useful in highlighting one-off changes that can be masked by three-month growth rates.

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5. The services sector grew by 0.3% in the three months to November 2018, driven by professional activities

Monthly growth in the services sector was 0.3% in November 2018. The main driver to growth was retail sales, which saw a boost from Black Friday promotions. This was partially offset by a slight contraction in legal activities and accounting.

The services sector rolling three-month growth to November 2018 was 0.3%. Professional and scientific activities was the largest contributor, with a contribution of 0.14 percentage points to gross domestic product (GDP) growth. Other notable contributors were information and communication, and human health activities. As seen in Figure 4, the professional and scientific industry and the information and communication industry have performed well since 2016, with growth over this period outstripping services as a whole.

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6. The production sector experienced negative growth in the three months to November 2018, as all four of its subsectors contracted

Month-on-month growth in the production industries was negative 0.4%. This was driven by weakness in manufacturing, and mining and quarrying, the latter due to unplanned maintenance.

Rolling three-month growth in production was negative 0.8%. As shown in Figure 5, all four main production sub-sectors experienced negative growth; the last time this happened was in October 2012. Maintenance across several months resulted in growth of negative 1.1% in mining and quarrying. Within manufacturing 10 out of 13 sub-industries contracted, driving the negative 0.8% growth in manufacturing.

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7. Rolling three-month growth in construction continued to perform strongly after a summer high

The construction sector had month-on-month growth of 0.6% in November 2018.

Rolling three-month growth for construction was 2.1% in November 2018, driven by new work in housebuilding and infrastructure.

The construction sector experienced high growth in the summer months, due partly to a bounce back from weakness in the spring. However, as illustrated in Figure 6, growth has remained at these high levels.

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8. Quality and methodology

The Gross domestic product (GDP) Quality and Methodology Information report contains important information on:

  • the strengths and limitations of the data and how it compares with related data
  • uses and users of the data
  • how the output was created
  • the quality of the output including the accuracy of the data
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Contact details for this Statistical bulletin

James Scruton
Telephone: +44 (0)1633 455284