GDP, Wales: October to December 2018

Quarterly economic activity for Wales including the construction, production and services industrial sectors.

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Release date:
5 September 2019

Next release:
October 2019

2. Main points

  • Gross domestic product growth in Wales was 0.3% in Quarter 4 (Oct to Dec) 2018.

  • Estimates of quarterly GDP in the English regions and Wales are published here for the first time, alongside data previously published by the Scottish Government and the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (NISRA).


These estimates are designated as Experimental Statistics and should be interpreted with some caution. Regional data can be volatile and quarterly movements should be considered alongside the long-term trend. To assist with this, quarter on same quarter a year ago data are published alongside the latest quarter-on-quarter estimates.

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3. GDP growth in Wales

Gross domestic product (GDP) in Wales had 0.3% growth in Quarter 4 (Oct to Dec) 2018, following positive growth of 1.3% in Quarter 3 (July to Sept) 2018. Compared with the same quarter of the previous year, GDP grew by 1.8%.

In Quarter 4 2018, growth in the production sector was flat to one decimal place, the construction sector increased by 3.3% and the services sector grew by 0.1%.

The services sector saw growth throughout 2017 and 2018, whilst growth in production fell slightly. There was a strong increase in construction output after 2017.

Education grew by 3.3% and had the highest contribution to growth in Quarter 4 (Oct to Dec) 2018, at 0.23 percentage points. This was followed by construction, which grew by 3.3%, and transport and storage, which grew by 5.0%. These made positive contributions to growth at 0.19 and 0.15 percentage points respectively.

Manufacturing output fell by 0.6%, public administration and defence fell by 1.2% and human health and social work industries fell by 0.9%. These industries made the largest negative contribution in this region, at negative 0.11, negative 0.09 and negative 0.09 percentage points respectively.

Of the main industrial sectors, the construction sector was the main driver of GDP within Wales in Quarter 4 2018, followed by the services sector at 0.09 percentage points.

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4. Data

Quarterly country and regional GDP
Dataset | Released 5 September 2019
Quarterly economic activity within Wales and the nine English regions (North East, North West, Yorkshire and The Humber, East Midlands, West Midlands, East of England, London, South East, South West).

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5. Glossary


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.


Sections B to E.


Section F.


Sections G to T.

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6. Measuring these data

The main data for these estimates are turnover data from approximately 1.9 million Value Added Tax (VAT) returns. Information from the Inter-Departmental Business Register (IDBR) on workplace employment allows us to apportion the VAT turnover for each business based on their employment share within a region. There is also a quality assurance of administrative data (QAAD) report for VAT data.

Other volume measure data are used where appropriate, or where VAT data has insufficient coverage. A full list of other data sources is included in the methodology article.

Detailed methodology for these statistics is available.

A detailed analysis of these new data is planned for the Economic review to be published in October 2019.

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7. Strengths and limitations

These data are designated as Experimental Statistics. These are statistics that are in the testing phase and not yet fully developed. We will continue to develop these statistics and seek users’ views on their use and needs for these data.

While the data sources and methods used in both our regional and national estimates of gross domestic product (GDP) are broadly similar, there are some clear differences. For example, in the extent to which Value Added Tax (VAT) data are used.

This means that while regional GDP aims to produce the best estimates at a regional level, the sum of the regions (adding in published estimates for Scotland and Northern Ireland) may not equal the national total. To address this, we have constrained our regional GDP estimates to the national totals in such a way that minimises changes to the region by industry quarter-on-quarter growth rates. The overall impact of this constraining on the regional estimates is small.

There are different possible methods available to us for carrying out this constraining. We continue to examine the impact of the range of different methods before deciding which one is best suited to these data in advance of applying to be assessed as National Statistics.

Please note that the one industry that is not fully constrained is mining and quarrying. In this industry there were challenges in chain linking the data from the regional accounts. We will address this in the regional accounts publication in December 2019 allowing subsequent quarterly releases to be fully constrained.

As part of the quality assurance process the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) notified us that they have improved their methodology for estimating regional breakdowns of the agricultural accounts. Defra has since provided us with data produced using the new methodology but unfortunately we were unable to process that data in time for this release. Data based on the old methodology is included in the compilation of headline GDP for the English regions and Wales, but will have little effect on these aggregates given the comparatively small size of the agriculture industry. However, we have taken the decision not to include a breakdown of agriculture in this release and we will process the new data and provide a breakdown in our Quarter 1 (Jan to Mar) 2019 release.

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8. More about regional and economic data

GDP monthly estimate, UK: June 2019
Bulletin | Released 9 August 2019
Gross domestic product (GDP) measures the value of goods and services produced in the UK.

Regional economic activity by gross value added (balanced), UK: 1998 to 2017
Bulletin | Released 12 December 2018
Annual estimates of economic activity by UK country, region and local area using balanced regional gross value added (GVA(B)).

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9. You may also be interested in

GDP in Scotland
Statistical publication | Released 7 August 2019
This publication includes the updated second estimate of onshore GDP growth in real terms, additional breakdowns of GDP in nominal (cash) terms, and key household sector statistics.

NI Composite Economic Index
Release | Published 18 July 2019
The NICEI is an experimental quarterly measure of the performance of the NI economy based on available official statistics.

Welsh short-term output indicators
Report | Published 18 July 2019
Data showing the short term movements in the output of industries in the production, construction and market services sectors.

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Contact details for this Statistical bulletin

Bethan West
Telephone: +44 (0)1633 456620