Letter from Michael Keoghan to Ed Humpherson: review of GDP revisions
Last updated: 6 September 2023
As you know we have just published the indicative impacts of our usual annual update of UK Gross Domestic Product (GDP). At the end of September we will incorporate these figures into the Quarterly National Accounts before issuing the new Blue Book in October. This is an important milestone as it will be the most comprehensive assessment of UK economic performance over the pandemic period; incorporating the richest range of data across the income, output and expenditure measures of GDP.
Alongside every Blue Book, we publish routinely a thorough assessment of revision performance so that we can evaluate the quality of our data, and provide insight and guidance to users. This year, given that we have largely completed the incorporation of new data covering the pandemic period, we will conduct additional analysis on revisions covering the pre-COVID, COVID and post-COVID periods to help users further put the GDP estimates in context.
We think it would therefore be timely for the Office for Statistics Regulation to work with us in reviewing the outcome of that work; particularly considering best practices when dealing with sharp discontinuities in economic performance and how they are communicated. We also wish to explore potential means by which key data might be made available to the ONS earlier in the production cycle. Given that is an issue that will have implications across the wider statistical system, your support and advocacy will be valuable in ensuring progress.
Deputy National Statistician and Director General, Economic, Social and Environmental Statistics Group, Office for National Statistics