GDP monthly estimate, UK: September 2019

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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This is an accredited national statistic.

Contact:
Email James Scruton

Release date:
11 November 2019

Next release:
10 December 2019

1. UK GDP grew by 0.3% in Quarter 3 2019

Commenting on today’s GDP figures for Quarter 3, an ONS Statistician said:

“GDP grew steadily in the third quarter, mainly thanks to a strong July. Services again led the way with construction also performing well. Manufacturing failed to grow as falls in many industries were offset by car production bouncing back following April shutdowns.

Looking at the picture over the last year, growth slowed to its lowest rate in almost a decade.

The underlying trade deficit narrowed, mainly due to growing exports of both goods and services.”

Gross domestic product (GDP) grew by 0.3% in Quarter 3 (July to Sept) 2019, following a 0.2% fall in Quarter 2 (Apr to June) 2019. When compared with the same quarter of 2018, however, GDP grew by 1.0%, the lowest rate of growth since Quarter 1 (Jan to Mar) 2010.

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2. The services sector was the main driver to GDP growth in the three months to September 2019

The often-dominant services sector was the main driver to gross domestic product (GDP) growth in the three months to September 2019, growing by 0.4% and contributing 0.29 percentage points. Construction also performed well over this period, showing the first positive rolling three-month growth since May 2019. The solid growths in both services and construction were driven by notable strength in July.

Production was flat in the three months to September 2019; this sector has not seen positive rolling three-month growth since April 2019. Manufacturing, the largest sub-sector of production, was also flat in the three months to September 2019.

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3. Rolling three-month growth returned to rates seen before the notable strength in the three months to March 2019

Rolling three-month growth was 0.3% in September 2019, following a volatile period in the first half of 2019. Gross domestic product (GDP) growth is now consistent with the rates seen in the second half of 2018.

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

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4. GDP fell by 0.1% in September 2019

Monthly gross domestic product (GDP) growth was negative 0.1% in September 2019, with all main sectors showing either zero or negative growth. However, a weak Quarter 2 (Apr to June) 2019 base period, along with strength in services and construction in July 2019, resulted in a positive Quarter 3 (July to Sept) 2019.

In this release, July and August are both open to revision. Both July and August have been revised downward by 0.1 percentage points.

The monthly growth rate for GDP is volatile and so 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. Quarterly growth in the services sector was 0.4%

The services sector grew by 0.4% in Quarter 3 (July to Sept) 2019. Quarterly growth was driven by strength in July 2019 and comparison with a very weak April 2019 in the previous three months.

The main contributor to this growth was information and communication, which grew by 0.8%, and has been the fastest-growing sub-sector of services over the last two years. Within this sub-sector, both motion pictures (including TV and music) and computer programming have showed significant strength over this period.

The services sector was flat in September 2019 after contracting in August 2019. Information and communication was the biggest positive contributor, with motion pictures driving this strength, in line with its general performance over the last couple of years.

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6. Output in the production sector was flat in Quarter 3 2019

Quarterly growth in production was 0.0% in Quarter 3 (July to Sept) 2019. In total, 8 out of the last 12 rolling three-month growth rates have been negative.

Output in the manufacturing sector was also flat on the quarter, where widespread falls across many manufacturing sub-industries were offset by a large increase in the manufacture of transport equipment (see the Index of Production bulletin for more details). The growth in the manufacture of transport equipment was driven by car production, which bounced back from the fall in Quarter 2 (Apr to June) 2019 caused by several car production plants bringing forward their summer shutdowns. Elsewhere in production, the water supply sector increased, while both the mining and energy sectors fell.

Production fell by 0.3% in September 2019, driven by weakness in the often-volatile pharmaceutical sector, which fell for the second month in a row following strong growth in July.

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7. The construction sector grew by 0.6% in Quarter 3 2019

Quarterly growth in construction was 0.6% in Quarter 3 (July to Sept) 2019, driven by an increase in private new housing, private commercial and private industrial.

Construction fell by 0.2% in September 2019. This was driven by falls in non-housing repair and maintenance, and public housing repair and maintenance.

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8. The expenditure measure of GDP increased by 0.3% in Quarter 3 2019

The expenditure measure of gross domestic product (GDP) increased by 0.3% in Quarter 3 (July to Sept) 2019. Private consumption, government consumption and net trade contributed positively to growth while gross capital formation (GCF) subtracted from GDP growth.

For more information please see the bulletin for the first quarterly estimate of GDP.

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9. Nominal GDP increased by 0.5% in Quarter 3 2019

Growth in nominal gross domestic product (GDP) eased to 0.5% in Quarter 3 (July to Sept) 2019, following an increase of 0.7% in the previous quarter. The quarterly increase was driven by a 0.9% increase in compensation of employees.

For more information please see the bulletin for the first quarterly estimate of GDP.

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Contact details for this Statistical bulletin

James Scruton
GDP@ons.gov.uk
Telephone: +44 (0)1633 455284