Press Release: April 2016 GDP estimates

Author(s): Kirby, S, Meaning, J, Warren, J Published: 08th April 2016

ESTIMATES OF MONTHLY GDP

GDP growth of 0.3 per cent in the first quarter of 2016

*Embargoed until 15.00 hours on 8th April 2016*

Our monthly estimates of GDP suggest that output grew by 0.3 per cent in the three months ending in March 2016 after growth of 0.2 per cent in the three months ending in February 2016. This estimate represents the weakest rate of growth for the UK economy since the final quarter of 2012.

James Warren, Research Fellow at NIESR, said “The subdued growth in the first quarter of 2016 has been primarily driven by weakness in production industries, especially manufacturing. The volume of industrial production is currently 10.7 per cent below its pre-recession peak of the first quarter of 2008, while GDP has now surpassed its pre-recession peak by 7 per cent.”

Figure 1. Real GDP growth (per cent per quarter)

Source: ONS, NIESR. Note: red bar indicates NIESR estimate for 2016Q1.

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 Luca Pieri on 020 7654 1931/ l.pieri [at] niesr.ac.uk

National Institute of Economic and Social Research
2 Dean Trench Street
Smith Square
London, SW1P 3HE
United Kingdom

Switchboard Telephone Number: 020 7222 7665
Website: http://www.niesr.ac.uk

Press release archive