Index of Services, UK: May 2019

Monthly movements in output for the services industries.

This is not the latest release. View latest release

This is an accredited national statistic.

Cyswllt:
Email Mark Stephens

Dyddiad y datganiad:
10 July 2019

Cyhoeddiad nesaf:
9 August 2019

1. Main points

  • In the three months to May 2019, services output increased by 0.3% compared with the three months ending February 2019.

  • The wholesale, retail and motor trade sector made the largest contribution to this growth, contributing 0.14 percentage points, with the retail trade industry the main driver behind this.

  • The Index of Services was flat between April 2019 and May 2019.

  • Month-on-month growth of 0.2% in the real estate activities sector was offset by a fall of 0.4% in the information and communication activities sector.

  • In the three months to May 2019, services output increased by 1.9% compared with the three months ending May 2018.

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2. Things you need to know about this release

The monthly Index of Services (IoS) provides a timely indicator of growth in the output of the services industries. It is the largest contributor to the output approach to the measurement of gross domestic product (GDP), accounting for 79.6% of UK GDP in 2016. Also published today (10 July 2019) is the GDP monthly estimate, UK: May 2019.

This May 2019 release contains revisions from January 2019 onwards and is consistent with the National Accounts Revisions Policy. The revisions up to March 2019 are consistent with those published in the Quarterly national accounts on 28 June 2019.

Please take the time to complete our survey on the new GDP publication model, which was introduced in July 2018.

The current price non-seasonally adjusted estimates of industries collected by the Monthly Business Survey (MBS) can be found in the Monthly Business Survey turnover of services industries dataset, which was published alongside this release. Note that the MBS turnover of services industries dataset does not contain data from Value Added Tax (VAT) returns, which have been included in the IoS.

Care should be taken when using the month-on-month growth rates as data can be volatile; longer-term growth rates and examination of the time series allow for better interpretation of the statistics.

The IoS is an important economic indicator and one of the earliest short-term measures of economic activity. It is used in the compilation of the national accounts and widely used by private and public sector institutions, particularly by the Bank of England and Her Majesty’s Treasury to assist in informed decision- and policy-making.

The UK Index of Services has been designated by the UK Statistics Authority as National Statistics, in accordance with the Statistics and Registration Service Act 2007 and signifying compliance with the Code of Practice for Statistics.

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3. Three-month on three-month services growth

In the three months to May 2019, services output increased by 0.3% compared with the three months ending February 2019.

Wholesale, retail and motor trade was the largest contributing sector to growth in the latest three months. It increased by 1.1% and contributed 0.14 percentage points. Figure 1 shows the three-month on three-month Index of Services (IoS) and the wholesale, retail and motor trade sector seasonally adjusted index from January 2015 to May 2019.

Growth in the wholesale, retail and motor trade sector has outperformed total IoS from January 2015 but slowed from the start of 2017 until the three months to May 2018. From that point it saw large increases over the summer months in 2018, due mainly to retail and wholesale trade. In the latest three months, the retail trade industry contributed to nearly all the growth within the sector.

Figure 2 shows the three-month on three-month contribution of the wholesale, retail and motor trade sector along with the other IoS sectors for the three months to May 2019.

The retail trade industry contributed to most of the growth in the wholesale, retail and motor trade sector, increasing by 1.7% and contributing 0.11 percentage points (of the 0.14 percentage points sector increase). There was growth across all stores except department stores and household goods stores; for more information please see Retail sales, Great Britain: May 2019.

The information and communication sector also saw a large rise in the latest three months. The sector increased by 1.1% and contributed 0.09 percentage points. There was widespread growth within the sector, with the motion pictures, information services activities and computer programming industries all contributing to the rise.

Services growth has weakened since the three months to August 2018, which grew by 0.8%. This weakening is widespread with most of the services sectors contributing less than they did in the second half of 2018.

The professional, scientific and technical activities sector is one of the sectors responsible for this (Figure 3). After consistent large contributions to services growth throughout 2018, the sector weakened in January 2019 and fell in February 2019, the first time since the three months to April 2017. Several industries within the sector saw strong growth at the end of 2018 and have now seen a fallback at the start of 2019, with growth from fewer industries offsetting these falls.

There has also been weakening in the other services sectors from the start of 2019. The sectors mainly responsible for this are:

  • human health activities, after a large rise in Quarter 4 (Oct to Dec) 2018

  • education, which saw stronger growth between December 2018 and February 2019

  • real estate activities, which saw stronger growth between December 2018 and February 2019

The financial and insurance activities sector fell again in the latest three months; it decreased by 0.7% and contributed negative 0.06 percentage points. This sector has not seen positive growth since the three months to April 2017, the longest period on record without a rise.

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4. Month-on-month services growth

Services output showed no growth to one decimal place in May 2019, following a rise of 0.1% in April 2019.

Figure 4 shows the month-on-month Index of Services (IoS) growth rates since January 2012 and Figure 5 shows the month-on-month contributions of each of the IoS sectors for May 2019.

IoS growth has been muted more recently and has not seen monthly growth larger than 0.3% since December 2016 (Figure 4). Care should be taken when using the month-on-month growth rates as data can be volatile.

There were more sector decreases in May 2019, with falls in 8 out of 14 sectors, while there were increases in five sectors and one sector showed no growth.

The real estate activities sector was the largest positive contributing sector. It increased by 0.2% and contributed 0.04 percentage points. The industries responsible for this rise were:

  • owned and leased real estate, which increased by 0.5%, contributing 0.02 percentage points

  • real estate on a fee or contract, which increased by 3.4%, contributing 0.02 percentage points

Offsetting this growth was the information and communication activities sector, which decreased by 0.4%, contributing negative 0.03 percentage points. Two industries were largely responsible for this fall and they were:

  • computer programming, which decreased by 0.9%, contributing negative 0.03 percentage points

  • telecommunications, which decreased by 1.5%, contributing negative 0.03 percentage points

The largest industry contribution in May 2019 came from wholesale trade, which increased by 1.2% and contributed 0.05 percentage points. Large businesses within the wholesale of fuel and wholesale on a fee or contract components were the main reason for this rise.

The other notable industry movement was a fall in advertising and market research, which followed a strong April 2019. The industry decreased by 3.9%, contributing negative 0.04 percentage points.

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5. Three-month on a year ago services growth

Figure 6 shows the three-month on a year ago Index of Services (IoS) growth rates since January 2015.

In the three months to May 2019, services output increased by 1.9% compared with the three months ending May 2018. This was a weakening from the three months to April 2019, which grew by 2.1%. The three-month on a year growth rate has seen little change recently, after weakening from 2.5% in the three months to July 2017.

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7. Upcoming releases

Blue Book 2019

Each year we produce an annual update to the UK National Accounts in the Blue Book and Pink Book and the associated releases. As already announced, the Blue Book and Pink Book 2019 consistent datasets will be published on 30 September 2019.

Details have already been provided on the scope in the article Latest developments and changes to be implemented in Blue Book and Pink Book 2019. Indicative impacts on headline gross domestic product (GDP) components for the years 1997 to 2016 were published on 27 June 2019 in the article Blue Book 2019 indicative impacts on GDP current price and chained volume measure estimates: 1997 to 2016.

This year, due to the very demanding set of changes being put through in the annual update, we are not going to fully reconcile 2017 annual data, instead producing an indicative balance to allow further time for final quality assurance of the data.

Consequently, the reference year and last base year for all chained volume measure series will remain as 2016.

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8. Quality and methodology

The monthly Index of Services (IoS) was developed to provide a timely indicator of growth in the output of services industries, at constant prices for the UK. The IoS is an important component of monthly output (gross domestic product output approach (GDP(O))), representing about 79.6% of UK gross domestic product (GDP) as of 2016. The IoS shares the exact same industry coverage as the corresponding quarterly series within GDP(O).

These data are used to produce seasonally adjusted estimates of output at chained volume measures (removing the effect of price changes). Unless otherwise stated, all estimates included in this release are based on seasonally adjusted data.

The IoS is compiled using data from several different sources (Table 1); this is detailed further in the GDP(O) source catalogue. In addition, we include Value Added Tax (VAT) data across 42 Standard Industrial Classifications (SICs) for small- and medium-sized businesses. These have been used to supplement data from the Monthly Business Survey (MBS) for the period January 2016 to September 2018.

Further information on the use of VAT data was published in the VAT turnover data in National Accounts: background and methodology.

The GDP(O) methods and sources pages provide more information on the data that underpin these statistics; of particular note is the GDP(O) source catalogue.

Notes:

  1. The Monthly Business Survey (MBS) data are published alongside this release in the MBS turnover of services industries dataset.

  2. Data relating to the retail industry are broadly comparable with Retail sales, Great Britain: May 2019, published on 20 June 2019.

  3. For further information on what is included within Other, please see the GDP(O) source catalogue.

This May 2019 release contains revisions from January 2019 and is consistent with the National Accounts Revisions Policy. Revisions can be made for a variety of reasons. The most common include:

  • late responses to surveys and administrative sources

  • forecasts being replaced by actual data

  • revisions to seasonal adjustment factors, which are re-estimated every month and reviewed annually

  • Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) VAT returns replacing MBS data for small- and medium-sized businesses when VAT estimates become available every quarter

Published alongside this release, the Index of Services datasets contain additional material, including:

  • MBS response rates (current and historic)

  • IoS and main component and sector indices to four decimal places

  • publication tables

  • revisions triangles

  • lower-level time series data

  • MBS turnover of services industries

The Index of Services Quality and Methodology Information report contains important information on:

  • the strengths and limitations of the data and how it compares with related data

  • uses and users of the data

  • how the output was created

  • the quality of the output including the accuracy of the data

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