NIESR Press Release: GDP growth of 0.2 % in 3 months ending in May 2017

Published: 09th June 2017

Our monthly estimates of GDP suggest that output grew by 0.2 per cent in the three months ending in May 2017 after growth of 0.2 per cent in the three months ending in April 2017: the economy continues to grow below its long run trend of 0.6 percent.

James Warren, Research Fellow at NIESR, said “Our estimates suggest that the economy grew by 0.2 per cent in the three months ending in May, unchanged from the three months to April. The subdued performance of the economy in the three months to May was driven by weakness in the production sector, offset by a mild rebound in services. The current political backdrop may lead to greater uncertainty and a drag on growth prospects, in particular business investment, which contracted in 2016.”

Jagjit Chadha, Director of NIESR added “The subdued performance in the economy throws the political turmoil of a hung Parliament into sharp relief.  People are looking for answers to low levels of economic growth, limited improvements in productivity and falling real wages.  That none of the parties wholly addressed our long run problems or how we ought to address exit from the European Union is the reason there was no clear winner.


NIESR’s latest quarterly forecast (published 10th May 2017) projected GDP growth of 1.7 per cent per annum in 2017 and 1.9 per cent in 2018 (see here for the associated press release).


Technical notes: Our track record in producing early estimates of GDP suggests that our projection for the most recent three-month period has a root mean squared error (RMSE) of 0.224% point (for the full sample period 1999Q3-2015Q4) when compared to the first estimate produced by the ONS. For the period 2008Q1 to 2015Q4 the RMSE is 0.290% point. The impact of the adverse weather in 2010Q4 is a noticeable outlier. Excluding 2010Q4 from the analysis, the RMSE for the full sample period is 0.188% point, and for 2008Q1 to 2015Q4 the RMSE is 0.231% point. These comparisons can be made only for complete calendar quarters. Outside calendar quarters the figures are less reliable than this.


A paper describing the methodology used to produce the data was published in the February 2005 volume of the Economic Journal:


Mitchell, J. Smith, R. J., Weale, M. R., Wright, S. and Salazar, E. L. (2005) ‘An Indicator of Monthly GDP and an Early Estimate of Quarterly GDP Growth’, Economic Journal, No. 551, pp. F108-F129.


A paper describing the methodology used to produce the data for the inter-war period was published in the October 2012 volume of Explorations in Economic History:


Mitchell, J., Solomou, S. and Weale, M. (2012) ‘Monthly GDP estimates for inter-war Britain’, Explorations in Economic History, Vol. 49, No. 4, pp. 543-556.


From April until October 2006 our estimates were computed using the Index of Services published by ONS. However this monthly series shows considerable volatility which has caused us some problems in estimating GDP. From our November 2006 press release we have therefore reverted to using a model of private services output based on indicator variables.  This means that, while all our figures for calendar quarters are fully coherent with ONS data, our estimates of monthly private service output are not. The series can be thought of as indicating the underlying value of the ONS series.


Contents of Press Release:

Table 1, Page 3: Summary Table of Quarterly Growth Rates showing Monthly Data, 3 months ending in that month, and Quarterly Growth (% per quarter). All contain Figures for Industry & GDP.


Table 2, Page 4: Output by Sector (Industry, Agriculture, Construction, Private Services, Public Services, GDP(B) (calculated at prices excluding taxes and subsidies), GDP


Table 3, Page 5: Output in Quarter Ending in Month Shown by sector (as above)


Table 4, Page 6: Growth in Quarter Ending in Month Shown over Previous Quarter (% at Annual Rate) by sector (as above)



Notes for editors: For further information please contact the NIESR Press Office or Paola Buonadonna on 020 7654 1923/ p.buonadonna [at]


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