Skip to content

Statistical bulletin: Second Estimate of GDP, Quarter 3 (July to Sept) 2015 This product is designated as National Statistics

Released: 27 November 2015 Download PDF

Main points

  • UK GDP in volume terms was estimated to have increased by 0.5% between Quarter 2 (Apr to June) 2015 and Quarter 3 (July to Sept) 2015, unrevised from the preliminary estimate of GDP published 27 October 2015, marking eleven consecutive quarters of positive growth.
  • GDP in volume terms increased by 6.4% between Quarter 1 (Jan to Mar) 2008, the pre-economic downturn peak, and Quarter 3 2015.
  • Between Quarter 3 2014 and Quarter 3 2015, GDP in volume terms increased by 2.3%, unrevised from the previously published estimate.
  • GDP in current prices increased by 0.6% between Quarter 2 2015 and Quarter 3 2015.
  • GDP per head in volume terms was estimated to have increased by 0.3% between Quarter 2 2015 and Quarter 3 2015. Between 2013 and 2014, GDP per head increased by 2.2%.

Understanding GDP

Change in GDP is the main indicator of economic growth. There are 3 approaches used to measure GDP.

Gross value added (GVA) is the sum of goods and services produced within the economy less the value of goods and services used up in the production process (intermediate consumption).  The output approach measures GVA at a detailed industry level before aggregating to produce an estimate for the whole economy. GDP (as measured by the output approach) can then be calculated by adding taxes and subtracting subsidies (both only available at whole economy level) to this estimate of total GVA (more information on creating the preliminary estimate of GDP is available on our methods and sources page).

The income approach measures income generated by production in the form of gross operating surplus (profits), compensation of employees (income from employment) and mixed income (self-employment income) for the whole economy.

The expenditure approach is the sum of all final expenditures within the economy, that is, all expenditure on goods and services that are not used up or transformed in the process, that is, final consumption (not intermediate) for the whole economy.

The third estimate of GDP is based on revised output data, together with updated data from expenditure and income components. In the Quarterly National Accounts, the output GVA and GDP estimates are balanced with the equivalent income and expenditure approaches to produce headline estimates of GVA and GDP. Further information on all 3 approaches to measuring GDP can be found in the Short Guide to National Accounts. (105.5 Kb Pdf)

All data in this bulletin are seasonally adjusted estimates and have had the effect of price changes removed (in other words, the data are deflated), with the exception of income data which are only available in current prices.

Growth for GDP and its components is given between different periods. Latest year-on-previous-year gives the annual growth between one calendar year and the previous. Latest quarter-on-previous-quarter growth gives growth between one quarter and the quarter immediately before it. Latest quarter-on-corresponding-quarter-of-previous-year shows the growth between one quarter and the same quarter a year ago.

In line with national accounts revisions policy, the only period open for revision in this release is Quarter 3 (July to Sept) 2015.

About the Second Estimate of GDP

The second estimate of GDP is produced around 7 and a half weeks after the end of the quarter to provide a timely estimate of GDP. At this stage the data content of this estimate from the output measure of GDP has risen to around 80% of the total required for the final output based estimate. There is also around 50 to 60% data content available to produce estimates of GDP from the expenditure and income approaches.

The quality of the GDP estimate

Revisions are an inevitable consequence of the trade-off between timeliness and accuracy. The estimate is subject to revisions as more data become available, but between the preliminary and third estimates of GDP, revisions are typically small (around 0.1 to 0.2 percentage points), with the frequency of upward and downward revisions broadly equal.

All estimates, by definition, are subject to statistical uncertainty and for many well-established statistics we measure and publish the sampling error associated with the estimate, using this as an indicator of accuracy. The estimate of GDP, however, is currently constructed from a wide variety of data sources, some of which are not based on random samples and as such it is very difficult to measure the sampling error. While development work continues in this area, like all other G7 national statistical institutes, we do not publish a measure of the sampling error associated with GDP.

Headline GDP components and GDP per head

Table 1: Economic indicators for the UK, Quarter 3 (July to Sep) 2015

Current market prices  Chained volume measures
  GDP Compensation of employees   GDP Household expenditure Gross fixed capital formation GDP per head
% growth1 % growth1   % growth 1 % growth1 % growth1 % growth 1
Seasonally adjusted  
 
Q3 2013  1.9 0.1   0.9 0.9 3.0 0.7
Q4 2013  0.7 -0.2   0.6 0.7 2.1 0.5
 
Q1 2014 1.3 0.9   0.6 0.6 2.2 0.4
Q2 2014 1.6 -0.1   0.9 0.7 1.4 0.7
Q3 2014 0.6 1.3   0.6 0.8 1.4 0.5
Q4 2014 0.7 1.5   0.8 0.7 -0.5 0.6
 
Q1 2015 0.8 0.7   0.4 0.8 1.5 0.2
Q2 2015 1.2 1.2   0.7 0.8 1.0 0.5
Q3 2015 0.6 1.1   0.5 0.8 1.3 0.3

Table source: Office for National Statistics

Table notes:

  1. Q1 is Quarter 1  (Jan to Mar).

  2. Q2 is Quarter 2 ( Apr to June).

  3. Q3 is Quarter 3 ( July to Sept).

  4. Q4 is Quarter 4 (Oct to Dec).

Download table

Historical context

As seen in Figure 1, GDP in the UK grew steadily during the 2000s until a financial market shock affected UK and global economic growth in 2008 and 2009. Economic growth resumed towards the end of 2009, but generally at a slower rate than the period prior to 2008. From the peak in Quarter 1 (Jan to Mar) 2008 to the trough in Quarter 2 (Apr to June) 2009 GDP decreased by 6.1%.

Figure 1: Quarterly growth and levels of UK GDP

Quarter 1 (Jan to Mar) 2003 to Quarter 3 (July to Sept) 2015

Figure 1: Quarterly growth and levels of UK GDP
Source: Office for National Statistics

Notes:

  1. Q1 is Quarter 1 (Jan to Mar).
  2. Please click on image to view larger version.

Download chart

This can be compared to previous economic downturns in the early 1980s and early 1990s, which saw lower levels of impact on GDP. In the early 1990s downturn, GDP decreased by 2.2% from the peak in Quarter 2 1990 to the trough in Quarter 3 1991. In the early 1980s downturn, GDP decreased by 5.6% from the peak in Quarter 2 1979 to the trough in Quarter 1 1981.

From Quarter 3 (July to Sept) 2009 growth continued to be erratic, particularly between 2010 and 2012 with two quarters recording negative growth. This two-year period coincided with special events (for example severe winter weather in Quarter 4 (Oct to Dec) 2010 and the Diamond Jubilee in Quarter 2 2012) that are likely to have affected growth both adversely and positively. Since 2013, GDP has grown steadily, with the economy exceeding pre-downturn peak levels in Quarter 2 2013.

Quarter 3 2015 has shown continued strength with GDP growing by 0.5% compared with the previous quarter; by 2.3% between Quarter 3 2014 and Quarter 3 2015, and by 2.9% between 2013 and 2014. GDP has now increased for 11 consecutive quarters, breaking a pattern of slow and erratic growth from 2009.

GDP analysed by output categories, chained volume measures, tables B1 and B2

Annex A contains output component growth rates back to Quarter 1 (Jan to Mar) 2014. (38 Kb Excel sheet)

Three of the four main output industrial groupings within GDP showed increases in Quarter 3 (July to Sept) 2015 with only construction falling in this period. Within production, there were both increases and decreases, but there was an overall increase in total production. All components within the service industries showed increases.

Production output increased by 0.2% in Quarter 3 2015 compared with Quarter 2 (Apr to June) 2015, revised downwards by 0.1 percentage points from the previously published estimate. Within the production sub-industries, output from mining and quarrying, including oil and gas extraction, increased by 2.8%; manufacturing (the largest component of production) decreased by 0.4% (Figure 2), and electricity, gas, steam and air conditioning supply industries increased by 1.0%. Water supply and sewerage fell by 0.2%.

When comparing Quarter 3 2015 with Quarter 3 2014, production output increased by 1.2%, revised down 0.1 percentage points from the previously published estimate. Mining and quarrying, including oil and gas extraction, increased by 11.8%, while water supply and sewerage increased by 5.4%. Manufacturing fell by 0.9% between these periods while the electricity, gas, steam and air conditioning supply industries decreased by 1.5%.

Figure 2: UK manufacturing growth, quarter-on-quarter

Quarter 3 (July to Sep) 2011 to Quarter 3 (July to Sep) 2015

Figure 2: UK manufacturing growth, quarter-on-quarter
Source: Office for National Statistics

Notes:

  1. Q1 is Quarter 1 (Jan to Mar).
  2. Q2 is Quarter 2 ( Apr to June).
  3. Q3 is Quarter 3 ( July to Sept).
  4. Q4 is Quarter 4 (Oct to Dec).

Download chart

Construction output decreased by 2.2% in Quarter 3 2015, unrevised from the previously published estimate. Construction output fell by 0.1% between Quarter 3 2014 and Quarter 3 2015, unrevised from the previously published estimate.

The service industries increased by 0.7% in Quarter 3 2015 (Figure 3), unrevised from the previous estimate, marking the eleventh consecutive quarter of positive growth. This follows a 0.6% increase in Quarter 2 2015.

Figure 3: UK services growth, quarter-on-quarter

Quarter 3 (July to Sep) 2011 to Quarter 3 (July to Sep) 2015

Figure 3: UK services growth, quarter-on-quarter
Source: Office for National Statistics

Notes:

  1. Q1 is Quarter 1 (Jan to Mar).
  2. Q2 is Quarter 2 ( Apr to June).
  3. Q3 is Quarter 3 ( July to Sept).
  4. Q4 is Quarter 4 (Oct to Dec).

Download chart

Output of the distribution, hotels and restaurants industries increased by 0.8% in Quarter 3 2015, following a 1.0% increase in Quarter 2 2015. The increase in the latest quarter was largely due to retail trade, except of motor cars and motor cycles and wholesale trade except of motor vehicles and motorcycles.

Output of the transport, storage and communication industries increased by 1.2% in Quarter 3 2015, following a 1.4% increase in Quarter 2 2015. The largest contributor to the increase was computer programming, consultancy and related activities.

Business services and finance industries’ output increased by 1.0% in Quarter 3 2015, following a 0.6% increase in Quarter 2 2015. The largest contributors to the increase were real estate, services to buildings and landscape activities and travel agency, tour operators and other reservation services.

Output of government and other services increased by 0.1% in Quarter 3 2015, after increasing by 0.1% in Quarter 2 2015. In the latest quarter the largest upward contribution came from human health activities.

Further detail on the service industries’ lower level components can be found in the Index of Services statistical bulletin published on 27 November 2015.

Gross value added (GVA) excluding oil and gas extraction increased by 0.4% in Quarter 3 2015 following a 0.5% increase in Quarter 2 2015.

Figure 4 shows the path of GDP and its headline industries (this excludes agriculture, and includes manufacturing which is a sub-component of production) relative to their level of output achieved in Quarter 1 2008.

Figure 4: UK GDP output components growth, quarter-on-quarter, indexed from Q1 2008 = 100

Quarter 1(Jan to Mar) 2008 to Quarter 3 (July to Sep) 2015

Figure 4: UK GDP output components growth, quarter-on-quarter, indexed from Q1  2008 = 100
Source: Office for National Statistics

Notes:

  1. Q1 is Quarter 1 (Jan to Mar).

Download chart

In the decade prior to the downturn, the service industries grew steadily, while production output was broadly flat over the same period. Construction activity grew strongly in the early part of the decade, and although there was a temporary decline in the mid-2000s - this was reversed by the end of 2007.

Industries have shown differing trends following the recent economic downturn. The construction, manufacturing, and production industries were more acutely affected by the deterioration in economic conditions, with output falling from peak to trough by 17.1%, 12.3% and 10.6% respectively. In contrast, output in the services industry only fell by 4.1% from its peak to trough.

Production activity began to grow again in 2010, and the manufacturing and the construction industries showed particular strength, however neither industry sustained this growth. Production output fell in both 2011 and 2012, falling below levels seen at the depth of the downturn in 2009. Construction output also fell sharply in 2012, with output falling close to its 2009 trough after further contraction in Quarter 1 2013. Construction output improved throughout 2014 and has continued this trend in the most recent quarter. Although, there has been widespread growth across all major components of GDP since the start of 2013, the service industry remains the largest and steadiest contributor to overall economic growth, and is the only headline industry in which output has exceeded pre-downturn levels.

Figure 5 shows the average compound quarterly growth rate experienced over the 5 years prior to the economic downturn in 2008 to 2009, the average growth rate experienced between Quarter 3 (July to Sept) 2009 and Quarter 2 2014 (5 years following the downturn), and the current quarterly growth rate observed in the most recent period (Quarter 3 2015). Compound average growth is the rate at which a series would have increased or decreased if it had grown or fallen at a steady rate over a number of periods. This allows the composition of growth in the recent economic recovery to be compared to the long run average.

The UK experienced slightly slower average compound GDP growth in the five years following the economic downturn compared with the five years prior: this is also true of the services industry. Figure 5 shows that in Quarter 3 2015, both the services and production industries outperformed the post-downturn average rate of growth, but manufacturing and construction have been relatively weak falling by 0.4% and 2.2% respectively.  In Quarter 3 2015 the transport, storage and information communication industries have shown particular strength when compared to both the production 5 year average, prior and post downturn.

It should be noted that the current quarterly growth rate (the third column for each industry section in Figure 5), is based on only 1 data point. Consequently users should use caution when making direct comparisons with the long run averages.

Figure 5: UK GDP quarterly average compound growth by industry grouping before and after the 2008 to 2009 economic downturn

Quarter 1 (Jan to Mar) 2003 to Quarter 4 (Oct to Dec) 2007, Quarter 3 (Jul to Sep) 2009 to Quarter 2 (Apr to Jun) 2014, Quarter 3 (July to Sep) 2015

Figure 5: UK GDP quarterly average compound growth by industry grouping before and after the 2008 to 2009 economic downturn
Source: Office for National Statistics

Notes:

  1. Q1 is Quarter 1 (Jan to Mar).
  2. Q2 is Quarter 2 (Apr to June).
  3. Q3 is Quarter 3 (July to Sept).
  4. Q4 is Quarter 4 (Oct to Dec).

Download chart

GDP analysed by expenditure categories, chained volume measures, table C2

Annex B contains expenditure component growth rates back to Quarter 1 (Jan to Mar) 2014. (27 Kb Excel sheet)

Gross domestic expenditure (the sum of all expenditure by UK residents on goods and services that are not used up or transformed in a productive process) increased by 1.9% in Quarter 3 (July to Sept) 2015. Annually, between 2013 and 2014 gross domestic expenditure increased by 3.2%.

Household final consumption expenditure (HHFCE) increased by 0.8% in Quarter 3 2015, and has increased for 9 consecutive quarters (Figure 6). When compared with the same quarter a year ago, HHFCE has been rising each quarter since Quarter 4 (Oct to Dec) 2011, and was 3.1% higher in Quarter 3 2015 than in the same period a year ago. Between 2013 and 2014, HHFCE increased by 2.7%.

Note that, in the quarters of 2013 only, “National” HHFCE chained volume measure data is not the sum of its components.

Figure 6: UK household final consumption expenditure growth, quarter-on-quarter

Quarter 3 (July to Sep) 2011 to Quarter 3 (July to Sep) 2015

Figure 6: UK household final consumption expenditure growth, quarter-on-quarter
Source: Office for National Statistics

Notes:

  1. Q1 is Quarter 1 (Jan to Mar).
  2. Q2 is Quarter 2 ( Apr to June).
  3. Q3 is Quarter 3 ( July to Sept).
  4. Q4 is Quarter 4 (Oct to Dec).

Download chart

Government final consumption expenditure increased by 1.3% in Quarter 3 2015, following a 0.4% increase in Quarter 2 2015. Between Quarter 3 2014 and Quarter 3 2015, government final consumption expenditure increased by 2.4%. Between 2013 and 2014, government final consumption expenditure increased by 1.9%.

Non-profit institutions serving households’ (NPISH) final consumption expenditure fell by 1.3% in Quarter 3 2015, following a 2.9% rise in Quarter 2 2015. Between Quarter 3 2014 and Quarter 3 2015, NPISH final consumption expenditure increased by 1.3%. Annually, NPISH final consumption expenditure increased by 1.9% between 2013 and 2014.

In Quarter 3 2015, gross fixed capital formation (GFCF) was estimated to have increased by 1.3% (Figure 7). Between Quarter 3 2014 and Quarter 3 2015, GFCF increased by 3.4%. GFCF increased by 7.5% between 2013 and 2014. More detail on GFCF can be found in the Business Investment statistical bulletin published on 27 November 2015.

Business investment was estimated to have risen by 2.2% in Quarter 3 2015. Between Quarter 3 2014 and Quarter 3 2015, business investment increased by 6.6%. Annually, business investment increased by 4.6% between 2013 and 2014.

Figure 7: UK gross fixed capital formation growth, quarter-on-quarter

Quarter 3 (July to Sep) 2011 to Quarter 3 (July to Sep) 2015

Figure 7: UK gross fixed capital formation growth, quarter-on-quarter
Source: Office for National Statistics

Notes:

  1. Q1 is Quarter 1 (Jan to Mar).
  2. Q2 is Quarter 2 ( Apr to June).
  3. Q3 is Quarter 3 ( July to Sept).
  4. Q4 is Quarter 4 (Oct to Dec).

Download chart

Including the alignment adjustment, the level of inventories increased by £1.0 billion in Quarter 3 2015, following a fall of £3.0 billion in Quarter 2 2015. More information on the alignment adjustment can be found in the Balancing GDP section within the Background Notes of this release.

The trade balance deficit widened from £7.7 billion in Quarter 2 2015 to £14.2 billion in Quarter 3 2015 (Figure 8). The trade position reflects exports minus imports. Following a 1.9% increase in Quarter 2 2015, exports increased by 0.9% in the latest quarter, while imports increased by 5.5% in Quarter 3 2015 following a 2.7% fall in Quarter 2 2015. As stated in the UK Trade bulletin (published on 6 November 2015), there is a divergence between the current price and chained volume estimates of exports and imports of goods. However, despite this issue, net exports is largely unaffected. More information on this divergence can be found in the UK Trade in Goods section within the Background Notes of this release.

Figure 8: UK trade balance

Quarter 3 (July to Sep) 2011 to Quarter 3 (July to Sep) 2015

Figure 8: UK trade balance
Source: Office for National Statistics

Notes:

  1. Q1 is Quarter 1 (Jan to Mar).
  2. Q2 is Quarter 2 ( Apr to June).
  3. Q3 is Quarter 3 ( July to Sept).
  4. Q4 is Quarter 4 (Oct to Dec).

Download chart

Figure 9 shows the quarterly contribution of the expenditure components to the growth of GDP in chained volume measures. For Quarter 3 2015, the largest positive contribution to GDP came from gross capital formation, which contributed 1.2 percentage points. Household final consumption expenditure contributed 0.5 percentage points to GDP; general government final consumption expenditure contributed 0.3 percentage points and NPISH contributed 0.0 percentage points. The only negative contribution to GDP came from net trade which contributed a negative 1.5 percentage points, its weakest contribution on record, following a positive contribution from net trade in Quarter 2 2015.

Figure 9: Expenditure components percentage contribution to UK GDP growth, quarter-on-quarter

Quarter 1 (Jan to Mar) 2014 to Quarter 3 (July to Sep) 2015

Figure 9: Expenditure components percentage contribution to UK GDP growth, quarter-on-quarter
Source: Office for National Statistics

Notes:

  1. Q1 is Quarter 1 (Jan to Mar).
  2. Q2 is Quarter 2 ( Apr to June).
  3. Q3 is Quarter 3 ( July to Sept).
  4. Q4 is Quarter 4 (Oct to Dec).
  5. Please click on image to view larger version.

Download chart

GDP implied deflator

Annex D contains implied deflator component growth rates back to Quarter 1 (Jan to Mar) 2014. (32.5 Kb Excel sheet)

The GDP implied deflator at market prices for Quarter 3 (July to Sept) 2015 is 1.1% above the same quarter of 2014 (Figure 10). The GDP implied deflator is calculated by dividing current price (nominal) GDP by chained volume (real) GDP and multiplying by 100 to convert to an index. It is not used in the calculation of GDP; the deflators for expenditure components, which are the basis for the implied GDP deflator, are used to calculate nominal GDP, not real GDP.

Figure 10: UK GDP at market prices implied deflator,quarter-on-quarter corresponding-quarter-of-previous-year

Quarter 3 (July to Sep) 2011 to Quarter 3 (July to Sep) 2015

Figure 10: UK GDP at market prices implied deflator,quarter-on-quarter corresponding-quarter-of-previous-year
Source: Office for National Statistics

Notes:

  1. Q1 is Quarter 1 (Jan to Mar).
  2. Q2 is Quarter 2 ( Apr to June).
  3. Q3 is Quarter 3 ( July to Sept).
  4. Q4 is Quarter 4 (Oct to Dec).

Download chart

GDP analysed by income categories at current prices, table D

Annex C contains income component growth rates back to Quarter 1 (Jan to Mar) 2014. (23.5 Kb Excel sheet)

GDP at current market prices increased by 0.6% in Quarter 3 (July to Sept) 2015, following a 1.2% increase in Quarter 2 (Apr to June) 2015. GDP at current market prices increased by 3.4% when compared to Quarter 3 2014. In 2014, GDP at current market prices increased by 4.7%.

Compensation of employees – which includes both wages and salaries, and pension contributions, increased by 1.1% in Quarter 3 2015, following an increase of 1.2% in Quarter 2 2015 (Figure 11). Between Quarter 3 2014 and Quarter 3 2015, compensation of employees increased by 4.5%. Between 2013 and 2014, compensation of employees increased by 2.3%.

Figure 11: UK compensation of employees growth, quarter-on-quarter

Quarter 3 (July to Sep) 2011 to Quarter 3 (July to Sep) 2015

Figure 11: UK compensation of employees growth, quarter-on-quarter
Source: Office for National Statistics

Notes:

  1. Q1 is Quarter 1 (Jan to Mar).
  2. Q2 is Quarter 2 ( Apr to June).
  3. Q3 is Quarter 3 ( July to Sept).
  4. Q4 is Quarter 4 (Oct to Dec).

Download chart

The gross operating surplus of corporations (effectively the profits of companies operating within the UK), including the alignment adjustment, fell by 0.9% in Quarter 3 2015 compared with the previous quarter; this follows flat growth in Quarter 2 2015 (Figure 12). Between 2013 and 2014 the gross operating surplus of corporations increased by 8.2%. More information on the alignment adjustment can be found in the Balancing GDP section within the Background Notes of this release.

Figure 12: UK gross operating surplus of corporations' growth, quarter-on-quarter

Quarter 3 (July to Sep) 2011 to Quarter 3 (July to Sep) 2015

Figure 12: UK gross operating surplus of corporations' growth, quarter-on-quarter
Source: Office for National Statistics

Notes:

  1. Q1 is Quarter 1 (Jan to Mar).
  2. Q2 is Quarter 2 ( Apr to June).
  3. Q3 is Quarter 3 ( July to Sept).
  4. Q4 is Quarter 4 (Oct to Dec).

Download chart

Taxes less subsidies on products and production increased by 0.9% in Quarter 3 2015, following an increase of 2.6% in Quarter 2 2015. Between 2013 and 2014 taxes less subsidies on products and production increased by 4.9%.

Figure 13 shows the contribution made by income components to current price GDP. In Quarter 3 2015, there were positive contributions to GDP from compensation of employees which contributed 0.5 percentage points to GDP and taxes on products and production less subsidies which contributed 0.1 percentage points. Gross operating surplus of corporations’ contributed a negative 0.2 percentage points while the contribution from other income was 0.1 percentage points this quarter.

Figure 13: Income components percentage contribution to UK GDP growth, quarter-on-quarter

Quarter 1 (Jan to Mar) 2014 to Quarter 3 (July to Sep) 2015

Figure 13: Income components percentage contribution to UK GDP growth, quarter-on-quarter
Source: Office for National Statistics

Notes:

  1. Q1 is Quarter 1 (Jan to Mar).
  2. Q2 is Quarter 2 (Apr to June).
  3. Q3 is Quarter 3 (July to Sept).
  4. Q4 is Quarter 4 (Oct to Dec).
  5. Please click on image to view larger version.

Download chart

GDP per head, table P

In Quarter 3 (July to Sept) 2015, GDP per head increased by 0.3% compared with Quarter 2 (Apr to June) 2015. GDP per head is now 0.9% above its pre-downturn peak in Quarter 1 2008, having surpassed it in Quarter 1 2015. Headline GDP exceeded the level of its pre-downturn peak in Quarter 2 2013 and is now 6.4% above its pre-downturn peak (Figure 14).

Figure 14: Quarterly growth of GDP and GDP per head for the UK, indexed from Q1 2008 = 100

Quarter 1 (Jan to Mar) 2008 to Quarter 3 (July to Sep) 2015

Figure 14: Quarterly growth of GDP and GDP per head for the UK, indexed from Q1 2008 = 100
Source: Office for National Statistics

Notes:

  1. Q1 is Quarter 1 (Jan to Mar).
  2. Please click on image to view larger version.

Download chart

Between Quarter 3 2014 and Quarter 3 2015, GDP per head increased by 1.7%. Between 2013 and 2014, GDP per head increased by 2.2%.

GDP per head is calculated by dividing GDP in chained volume measures by the latest population estimates and projections. The population estimates and projections used in this release are those published on 25 June 2015.

International comparisons for Quarter 3 (July to Sept) 2015

The estimates in this international comparison section are the latest available estimates published by the respective bodies (referenced) at the time of preparation of this statistical bulletin and may subsequently have been revised.

All areas included within our international comparison, with the exception of Japan, saw positive growth when comparing Quarter 3 (July to Sept) 2015 with Quarter 2 (Apr to June) 2015 (Table 2). The European Union (EU28) grew by 0.4% in the third quarter of 2015 marking 10 consecutive quarters of positive growth (Figure 15). In the same period, the eurozone (EA19) expanded by 0.3%. When comparing Quarter 3 2014 with Quarter 3 2015, EA19 grew by 1.6 % whilst the EU28 expanded by 1.9% (Figure 16).

Germany saw its GDP increase by 0.3% between Quarter 2 2015 and Quarter 3 2015, down 0.1 percentage points from the previous quarter-on-quarter growth. GDP for France also increased by 0.3% in the same period, following no growth in Quarter 2 2015.

In the third quarter of 2015 the USA’s economy increased by 0.5%. Between Quarter 3 2014 and Quarter 3 2015, GDP for the USA increased by 2.2%. GDP for Japan decreased by 0.2% in Quarter 3 2015, following a similar decrease in the previous quarter, although between Quarter 3 2014 and Quarter 3 2015, Japan’s economy grew by 1.1%.

GDP for the Group of Seven (G7) countries increased by 0.4% in Quarter 3 2015, following a 0.6% increase in the previous quarter. When comparing Quarter 3 2014 with Quarter 3 2015, G7 GDP increased by 1.8% and is now 6.1% above its pre-downturn peak in Quarter 1 2008.

More detailed information on these estimates can be found on the Eurostat website. Information on the estimates for the USA can be found on the Bureau of Economic Analysis website; information on the estimates for Japan can be found on the Japanese Cabinet Office website and information for the G7 countries can be found on the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s website.

Table 2 International GDP quarterly growth rate comparisons for selected economic areas, quarter-on-quarter, Quarter 1 (Jan to Mar) 2013 to Quarter 3 (July to Sept) 2015

percentage growth

  EU281 EA19 France Germany UK Japan USA G73
                 
Q1 2013 0.0 -0.2 0.1 -0.3 0.7 1.3 0.5 0.4
Q2 2013  0.4 0.4 0.8 0.9 0.6 0.6 0.3 0.4
Q3 2013 0.4 0.2 -0.1 0.4 0.9 0.6 0.7 0.6
Q4 2013 0.3 0.2 0.2 0.3 0.6 -0.2 0.9 0.6
                 
Q1 2014 0.3 0.2 -0.2 0.7 0.6 1.2 -0.2 0.2
Q2 2014 0.3 0.1 -0.1 -0.1 0.9 -2.0 1.1 0.4
Q3 2014 0.4 0.3 0.2 0.2 0.6 -0.3 1.1 0.6
Q4 2014 0.5 0.4 0.1 0.6 0.8 0.3 0.5 0.5
                 
Q1 2015 0.5 0.5 0.7 0.3 0.4 1.1 0.2 0.4
Q2 2015 0.4 0.4 0.0 0.4 0.7 -0.2 1.0 0.6
Q3 2015 0.4 0.3 0.3 0.3 0.5 -0.2 0.5 0.4

Table source: Office for National Statistics

Table notes:

  1. Q1 is Quarter 1  (Jan to Mar).

  2. Q2 is Quarter 2 ( Apr to June).

  3. Q3 is Quarter 3 ( July to Sept).

  4. Q4 is Quarter 4 (Oct to Dec).

Download table

Figure 15: International GDP growth rates, quarter-on-quarter

Quarter 1(Jan to Mar) 2003 to Quarter 3 (July to Sep) 2015

Figure 15: International GDP growth rates, quarter-on-quarter
Source: Office for National Statistics

Notes:

  1. Q1 is Quarter 1 (Jan to Mar).
  2. Please click on image to view larger version.

Download chart

Figure 16: International GDP growth rates, quarter-on-corresponding-quarter-of-previous-year

Quarter 1 (Jan to Mar) 2003 to Quarter 3 (July to Sep) 2015

Figure 16: International GDP growth rates, quarter-on-corresponding-quarter-of-previous-year
Source: Office for National Statistics

Notes:

  1. Q1 is Quarter 1 (Jan to Mar).
  2. Please click on image to view larger version.

Download chart

Figure 17: International GDP growth rates, quarter-on-quarter

Quarter 1 (Jan to Mar) 2008 to Quarter 3 (July to Sep) 2015

Figure 17: International GDP growth rates, quarter-on-quarter
Source: Office for National Statistics

Notes:

  1. Q1 is Quarter 1 (Jan to Mar).

Download chart

Quarterly revisions

GDP and components, previously published on 27 October 2015

Figure 18 shows quarterly revisions between latest and previously published estimates of GDP. Quarter 3 (July to Sept) 2015 is the only period open for revision in this release.

Figure 18: UK GDP, quarter-on-quarter growth

Quarter 1 (Jan to Mar) 2003 to Quarter 3 (July to Sep) 2015

Figure 18: UK GDP, quarter-on-quarter growth
Source: Office for National Statistics

Notes:

  1. Q1 is Quarter 1 (Jan to Mar).
  2. Q2 is Quarter 2 (Apr to June).
  3. Q3 is Quarter 3 (July to Sept).
  4. Q4 is Quarter 4 (Oct to Dec).

Download chart

Revisions for the GDP Output approach are shown in Annex E of this release. (29.5 Kb Excel sheet)

Background notes

  1. What do you think?

    We would welcome your feedback on this publication. If you would like to get in touch please contact us via email: gdp@ons.gsi.gov.uk

  2. Release policy

    This release includes data available up to 17 November 2015. Date are consistent with that within the Index of Production statistical bulletin - published on 6 November 2015 and the current price trade in goods data within the UK Trade statistical bulletin - also published on 6 November 2015.

  3. UK Trade in Goods

    We would like to draw your attention to an issue regarding the statistics for UK Trade in Goods in chained volume measure (CVM) terms. In the third quarter of 2015, the trade in goods deflator for both exports and imports show notable decreases. This is the result of constraining adjustments required during the Blue Book 2015 production process, as previously detailed in the September 2015 UK Trade release.

  4. We are working on resolving the issue in time for the next UK Trade release (10 December 2015). The resulting revisions will be seen in the Quarterly National Accounts publication to be released on 23 December 2015. The impact on the GDP implied deflator is expected to be minimal as this is calculated using net exports (the overall trade balance).

  5. Construction industry

    On 11 December 2014, the UK Statistics Authority announced its decision to suspend the designation of Construction Price and Cost Indices (CPCIs) due to concerns about the quality of these deflators. As a result, the UK Statistics Authority also suspended the designation of Output and New Orders as National Statistics in respect of the Code of Practice for Official Statistics.

  6. We took over responsibility for the publication and development of the CPCIs from the Department for Business Innovation and Skills on 1 April 2015. On 8 May 2015, we published an article describing the proposed interim solution for construction price and cost indices (CPCIs) (254.5 Kb Pdf) to replace the statistical models that had been used in the production of chained volume measures (CVMs) for output in the construction industry since Quarter 3 (July to Sept) 2014 and to provide an ongoing source of data from Quarter 2 (Apr to June) 2015 onwards. This interim solution is used within this release.

  7. The change in methodology for the CPCIs resulted in revisions to output in the construction industry. However, this is not the only source of revisions. The incorporation of late data and new seasonal adjustment parameters has also contributed to the revisions to output in the construction industry.

  8. Release content and context

    This release is the second estimate of GDP. Data content for each successive release of GDP varies according to availability.

  9. The Preliminary Estimate of GDP is based on output data alone. These are based on survey estimates for the first 2 months of the quarter with estimates for the third month of the quarter based on forecasts using early returns from businesses. Other (non-survey based) data used in the compilation of the output approach are also based on forecasts.

  10. For the Second Estimate of GDP output estimates, based on survey data, are available for all 3 months of the quarter, in addition to other significant data sources. Estimates of the expenditure and income approaches to measuring GDP are also available in this release based on a combination of limited survey data, other data sources and forecasts.

  11. For the Quarterly National Accounts (QNA) release, output survey data are available for all 3 months of the quarter, along with most other data sources. For the expenditure and income approaches to measuring GDP, more extensive survey data are available, in addition to other data sources and a more limited use of forecasts.

  12. After this release, the current quarter will be subject to revision in accordance with National Accounts revisions policy as further data, annual benchmarks and methodological improvements are implemented. More information on the annual data and benchmarks included in this release can be found in the Quarterly Revisions section of this bulletin.

  13. For more information on the different estimates of GDP, we have produced a short guide to the UK National Accounts (136.8 Kb Pdf) which gives more information on the principles of national accounting and the various publications available.

  14. National Statistics Quality Review

    In line with the recently published National Statistics Quality Review (NSQR): Review of National Accounts and Balance of Payments, we have published a response, which can be found on our website.

  15. National Accounts Work Plan 2015 to 2018

    On 13 July 2015 users of national accounts were invited to respond to an informal consultation on the national accounts work plan which lays out a proposed set of priorities for the next 3 years. This consultation on the national accounts medium-term work plan (covering the period to 2018) closed on 25 September 2015. It followed a previous work plan for national accounts and related outputs following the consultation held in 2013.

    The final report of the national accounts medium-term work plan was published on our website 27 November 2015.

  16. Special Events

    We maintain a list of candidate special events in the Special Events Calendar. Special events are events that are identifiable; they do not recur on a regular cycle (so are not targeted by seasonal adjustment) and have at least the potential to have an impact on statistics. As explained in our Special Events policy, it is not possible to separate the effects of special events from other changes in the series.

  17. Continuous improvement of GDP: sources, methods and communication

    The UK Statistics Authority published 2 new assessment reports on the Annual and Quarterly National Accounts and Supply and Use Tables and Input-Output Tables on 25 February 2015.

  18. In order to implement improvements reflected in the European System of Accounts 2010 (ESA2010), we will introduce a new survey to collect purchases data, and have published a national accounts article detailing our intentions along with a high level project plan.

  19. VAT project

    An article titled “Feasibility study into the use of HMRC turnover data within Short-term Output Indicators and National Accounts” was published (14 August 2015). The project is exploring ways in which HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) administrative data could be used to quality assure, supplement or replace the current turnover-based ONS surveys. This article is the first of a series of planned articles into this work.

  20. A second article, "Exploitation of HMRC VAT data", was published (7 October 2015). This is an update of the work to exploit HMRC turnover data in short-term economic output indicators and National Accounts. This article explores the international context of the work, previous attempts to use these data in short-term economic output indicators and National Accounts and a high level overview of the process undertaken to arrive at micro-level data each month.

  21. National accounts methodology and articles

    We regularly publish methodological information and articles to provide more detailed information on developments within the national accounts. This includes; supplementary analyses of data to help users with the interpretation of statistics and guidance on the methodology used to produce the national accounts.

  22. National accounts classification decisions

    The UK national accounts are produced under internationally agreed guidance and rules set out principally in the European System of Accounts (ESA 2010) and the accompanying Manual on Government Deficit and Debt- Implementation of ESA 2010 – 2014 edition (MGDD).

  23. In the UK, we are responsible for the application and interpretation of these rules. Therefore we make classification decisions based upon the agreed guidance and rules, and these are published on our website.

  24. Economic context

    We publish a monthly Economic Review discussing the economic background, giving economic commentary on the latest GDP estimate and our other economic releases. The next article will be published on 1 December 2015.

  25. Basic quality information for GDP statistical bulletin

    A Quality and Methodology Information report for this statistical bulletin can be found on our website.

  26. Important quality issues

    Common pitfalls in interpreting series:

    • expectations of accuracy and reliability in early estimates are often too high

    • revisions are an inevitable consequence of the trade-off between timeliness and accuracy

    • early estimates are based on incomplete data

    Very few statistical revisions arise as a result of “errors” in the popular sense of the word. All estimates, by definition, are subject to statistical “error”. In this context the word refers to the uncertainty inherent in any process or calculation that uses sampling, estimation or modelling. Most revisions reflect either the adoption of new statistical techniques or the incorporation of new information which allows the statistical error of previous estimates to be reduced. Only rarely are there avoidable “errors” such as human or system failures and such mistakes are made quite clear when they do occur.

  27. Reliability

    Estimates for the most recent quarters are provisional and are subject to revision in the light of updated source information. We currently provide an analysis of past revisions in the GDP and other statistical bulletins that present time series.

    Our revisions to economic statistics page brings together our work on revisions analysis, linking to articles, revisions policies and important documentation from the Statistics Commission's report on revisions.

    Revisions to data provide one indication of the reliability of main indicators. Tables 3 and 4 provide a summary on the size and direction of the revisions that have been made to data covering a 5-year period. A statistical test has been applied to the average revision to find out if it is statistically significantly different from zero. An asterisk (*) shows if the result of the test is significant.

  28. Revisions to GDP estimates

    Table 3 shows the revisions to month 1 (preliminary) and month 2 (second) estimates of GDP. The analysis of revisions between month 1 and month 2 uses month 2 estimates published from November 2010 (Quarter 3 2010) to August 2015 (Quarter 2 2015). The analysis of revisions between month 2 and month 3 (third estimate of GDP) uses month 3 estimates published from September 2010 (Quarter 2 2010) to June 2015 (Quarter 1 2015).

    Table 3: Revisions to early estimates of UK GDP, quarter-on-quarter percentage change growth

    Estimate in latest period Revisions between early estimates of GDP growth (quarterly, CVM)
    Revisions to GDP growth  % growth Average over the last five years  Average over the last five years without regard to sign (average absolute revision)
    Between M1 and M2 0.5 0.01 0.03
    Between M2 and M3 0.5 0.01 0.05

    Table source: Office for National Statistics

    Table notes:

    1. M1 or Month1 is the Preliminary Estimate of GDP.

    2. M2 or Month 2 is the Second Estimate of GDP.

    3. M3 or Month 3 is the Quarterly National Accounts.

    Download table

  29. Table 4 shows the revisions to GDP growth between the estimate published 3 months after the end of the quarter and the equivalent estimate 3 years later. The analysis uses month 3 estimates, first published from September 2007 (Quarter 2 2007) to June 2012 (Quarter 1 2012) for GDP.

    Table 4: Revisions to month 3 estimates of UK GDP, quarter-on-percentage change growth

    Estimate in latest period Revisions between first publication and estimates three years later
    % growth Average over the last five years  Average over the last five years without regard to sign (average absolute revision)
    GDP growth (quarterly, CVM) 0.5 -0.04 0.41

    Table source: Office for National Statistics

    Download table

  30. Revisions triangles for the main components of GDP from expenditure, output and income approaches and spreadsheets, containing revisions triangles (real time databases) of estimates from 1992 to date and the calculations behind the averages in both tables are available on our website.

  31. Balancing GDP

    Information on the methods we use for balancing the output, income and expenditure approaches to measuring GDP can be found on our website.

  32. The different data content of the 3 approaches dictates the approach taken in balancing quarterly data. In the UK, there are far more data available on output than in the other 2 approaches. However, in order to obtain the best estimate of GDP (the published figure), the estimates from all 3 approaches are reconciled to produce an average.

  33. Annually, the estimates from all 3 approaches are reconciled through the creation of Input-Output Supply and Use tables for the years for which data are available.

  34. For years in which there is no Supply and Use balance, a Statistical Discrepancy exists that reflects the differences between the published headline estimate of GDP and the expenditure and income estimates.

  35. For all periods, the expenditure and income estimates are aligned to the published headline GDP figure. Although annual data is aligned for balanced years, there will still be quarterly differences for balanced and post balanced years, due to timing and data content issues. These are dealt with by means of explicit alignment adjustments that are applied to specific components (gross operating surplus of private non-financial corporations in the income approach and changes in inventories in expenditure) to align the 3 approaches. As these are purely quarterly discrepancies, the alignments sum to zero over the year and are published explicitly in the GDP statistical bulletins. They are also published as “of which” items within the specific components, to enable users to ascertain the underlying picture.

  36. Alignment adjustments, found in Table M of this release, have a target limit of plus or minus £2,000 million on any quarter. However, in periods where the data sources are particularly difficult to balance, slightly larger alignment adjustments are sometimes needed. To achieve this balance through alignment, balancing adjustments are applied to the expenditure and income components of GDP as required. They are applied to those individual components where data content is particularly weak in a given quarter due to a high level of forecast content, for example.

  37. The size and direction of the quarterly alignment adjustments in Quarter 3 (July to Sept) 2015 indicate that in this quarter, the level of expenditure was higher than that of output while the level of income was lower than that of output.

  38. Table 5 shows the balancing adjustments applied to the GDP estimates in this publication.

    Table 5: Balancing adjustments applied to the GDP dataset for Quarter 3 (July to Sept) 2015

    GDP measurement approach Component Quarter 3 (July to Sept) 2015
    Adjustment1
    Expenditure None applied
    Income Gross operating surplus of financial corporations  500
    Gross operating surplus of private non-financial corporations 500

    Table source: Office for National Statistics

    Download table

  39. Further information

    You can get the latest copies of this and all our other releases are available through Publications on our website.

  40. Details of the policy governing the release of new data are available from the media relations office. Also available is a list of the ministers and officials who have pre-publication access to the contents of this bulletin.

  41. We are committed to ensuring all information provided is kept strictly confidential and will only be used for statistical purposes. Further details regarding confidentiality can be found in the respondent charters for businesses and households, on our website.

  42. Following ONS

    You can follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

  43. Code of practice

    National Statistics are produced to high professional standards set out in the UK Statistics Authority's Code of Practice for Official Statistics. They undergo regular quality assurance reviews to ensure that they meet customer needs. They are produced free from any political interference.

  44. Details of the policy governing the release of new data are available by visiting www.statisticsauthority.gov.uk/assessment/code-of-practice/index.html or from the Media Relations Office email: media.relations@ons.gsi.gov.uk

    These National Statistics are produced to high professional standards and released according to the arrangements approved by the UK Statistics Authority.

Statistical contacts

Name Phone Department Email
Matthew Hughes +44 (0)1633 455827 ONS / GDP co-ordination branch gdp@ons.gsi.gov.uk
Get all the tables for this publication in the data section of this publication .
Content from the Office for National Statistics.
© Crown Copyright applies unless otherwise stated.