GDP, UK regions and countries: April to June 2020

Quarterly economic activity within the countries of the UK (England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland) and the nine English regions (North East, North West, Yorkshire and The Humber, East Midlands, West Midlands, East of England, London, South East, and South West).

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Cyswllt:
Email Laura Requena

Dyddiad y datganiad:
1 February 2021

Cyhoeddiad nesaf:
May 2021

1. Other pages in this release

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2. Main points

  • In Quarter 2 (Apr to June) 2020, all four countries in the UK showed negative growth in gross domestic product (GDP): Scotland fell by 19.4%, followed by England, which fell 19.0%, Wales fell by 15.1% and Northern Ireland fell by 13.6%.

  • Wales' growth in Quarter 2 2020 was negative 15.1%; this follows a fall in Quarter 1 (Jan to Mar) of negative 2.4%.

  • Of the nine English regions, the largest negative growth in Quarter 2 2020 was the West Midlands with negative 21.0%, whilst the smallest decline came from London, at negative 16.6%.

  • The West Midlands showed the largest negative growth in GDP in Quarter 2 2020 when compared with the same quarter a year earlier, at 24.7%; London showed the smallest decline, at negative 16.3%.

  • As part of our ongoing commitment to continuously improve the methodologies that underpin our statistics, we have undertaken work to enhance the accuracy of our industry estimates within our published regions; for more information see Section 7. Measuring the data.

  • Estimates for Scotland and Northern Ireland in this release are consistent with those published by the Scottish Government and the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (NISRA) respectively.

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These estimates are designated as Experimental Statistics while they are still in development, and should be interpreted with some caution. Regional data can be volatile and quarterly movements should be considered alongside the long-term trend. To assist with this, quarter on same quarter a year earlier data are published alongside the latest quarter on quarter estimates.

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3. Analysis of regional gross domestic product (GDP) growth

All four countries in the UK had negative growth for Quarter 2 2020

UK gross domestic product (GDP) growth was negative 18.8% in Quarter 2 (Apr to June) 2020. This followed negative growth of 2.8% in Quarter 1 (Jan to Mar) 2020.

All four countries in the UK had negative quarter on quarter growth in Quarter 2 2020. Scotland fell by 19.4%, England fell by 19.0%, Wales fell by 15.1% and Northern Ireland fell by 13.6%.

More information about the drivers for the changes in Scotland and Northern Ireland can be found in the data tables published by the Scottish Government and the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency.

The largest negative growth in Quarter 2 2020 was the West Midlands with negative 21.0%

All nine English regions showed negative growth in Quarter 2 (Apr to June) 2020. The West Midlands with a fall of 21.0%, the East of England with negative 20.9%, the South East with negative 20.6% and the North West with negative 20.3%, showed the largest falls. The smallest declines came from London and the North East, falling by 16.6% and 17.5% respectively.

Table 1 shows the growths across the countries and regions in Quarter 2 2020 compared with the previous growths in Quarter 1 (Jan to Mar) 2020.

All regions showed negative growth in Quarter 2 2020 when compared with the same quarter a year earlier

Only three regions or countries in the UK had growth in Quarter 2 (Apr to June) 2020 above the UK level when compared with the same quarter in 2019. These were Wales at negative 18.3%, Northern Ireland at negative 17.7% and London at negative 16.3%. All other regions fell below the UK level of negative 20.7%; the largest fall being the West Midlands with negative 24.7%.

More information regarding the sub-industries contributing to these quarterly changes can be found in the data tables for Wales, the regions of England and the data published by the Scottish Government and Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (NISRA).

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4. GDP growth by main industrial sector for the English regions and Wales

Data for Scotland and Northern Ireland are not shown here as they are published by the Scottish Government and the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (NISRA).

Figure 4: Interactive maps by key industrial sector for the English regions and Wales

Seasonally adjusted quarter on quarter GDP growth for Quarter 2 (Apr to June) 2020

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Figure 5: Interactive chart by area for the English regions and Wales

Seasonally adjusted quarter on quarter GDP growth for Quarter 2 (Apr to June) 2020

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Figure 6: Interactive time series charts by main sections for the English regions and Wales

Seasonally adjusted quarter on quarter GDP growth, Quarter 2 (Apr to June) 2018 to Quarter 2 (Apr to June) 2020

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More detail about the growth in GDP in each region can be found in our regional GDP dataset.

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These estimates are calculated based on site-level (local unit) activity. Industry movements may differ to those at the national level, which are based on overall (reporting unit) business activity.

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5. GDP, UK regions and countries data

Quarterly country and regional GDP
Dataset | Released 1 February 2021
Quarterly economic activity within Wales and the nine English regions (North East, North West, Yorkshire and The Humber, East Midlands, West Midlands, East of England, London, South East, and South West).

Quarterly country and regional GDP – data source catalogue
Dataset | Released 1 February 2021
A breakdown of all the data sources that feed in to the measure of quarterly country and regional GDP.

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6. Glossary

GDP

Gross domestic product (GDP) measures the value of goods and services produced in the UK. It estimates the size of and growth in the economy.

Production

Production is the process of combining various materials or other inputs in order to generate a product for consumption. It includes output in the manufacturing (the largest component of production), mining and quarrying, energy supply, and water supply and waste management industries.

Services

Services are activities that people, or businesses provide for a consumer or other businesses. The main components of the service industries are: wholesale and retail; hotels and restaurants; transport, storage and communication; business services and finance; and government and other services.

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7. Measuring the data

The main data for these estimates are turnover data from approximately 1.9 million VAT returns. Information from the Inter-Departmental Business Register (IDBR) on workplace employment allows us to apportion the Value Added Tax (VAT) turnover for each business based on their employment share within a region. The quality assurance of administrative data (QAAD) report for VAT data is available.

Other volume measure data are used where appropriate, or where VAT data have insufficient coverage. A full list of other data sources is included in the data sources catalogue.

A detailed analysis of data was published in the Economic Review on 21 October 2019.

This publication includes a consistent time series of growth rates and indices, back to 2012. These are consistent with the balanced regional accounts estimates published in December 2019. This applies up to when final estimates for regional accounts are available. From this point onwards, growth rates are consistent with Blue Book 2020 Quarterly national accounts. We use a statistical algorithm to automatically align our datasets to ensure consistency. Revisions back to 2012 reflect statistical improvements and ongoing changes to methods used in compiling these estimates as ONS develop these Experimental Statistics. We aim to continue to implement improvements within our regional GDP estimates, and gain National Statistics status in due course.

As part of our ongoing commitment to continuously improve the methodologies that underpin our statistics, we have undertaken work to enhance the accuracy of our industry estimates within our published regions. This work has corrected previous discrepancies in the treatment of some of our data sources, whilst implementing improvements to our methodology to supplement these changes. Whilst we continue to benchmark to balanced regional accounts, we have enhanced the methodology to derive the quarterly paths of both broad and granular industries. We believe these developments not only offer a significant increase in the accuracy of our statistics, but also improves the coherency with other ONS publications, namely Blue Book 2020 Quarterly national accounts.

Because of the techniques used to calculate regional GDP, these methodology changes could affect all industries, however, the industries which are predominantly affected are:

  • A02 – Forestry and logging

  • B06 – Extraction of crude petroleum and natural gas

  • C19 – Manufacture of coke and refined petroleum products

  • C24 – Manufacture of basic metals

  • E36 – Water collection, treatment and supply

  • E38 – Waste collection, treatment and disposal activities; materials recovery

  • H49 – Land transport and transport via pipelines

  • H50 – Water transport

  • H51 – Air transport

  • J60 – Programming and broadcasting activities

  • K64 – Financial service activities, except insurance and pension funding

  • L68 – Real estate activities

  • M72 – Scientific research and development

  • O84 – Public administration and defence; compulsory social security

  • P85 – Education

  • Q88 – Social work activities without accommodation

  • R91 – Libraries, archives, museums and other cultural activities

  • R92 – Gambling and betting activities

  • R93 – Sports activities, and amusement and recreation activities

  • S94 – Activities of membership organisations

  • T97_98 – Activities of households as employers; undifferentiated goods and services producing activities of households for own use

Data are presented in this release for Quarter 1 (Jan to Mar) 2012 onwards. As earlier data are constrained to the annual estimates given in the regional accounts consistent with Blue Book 2019, regional accounts data for earlier periods will not align to the Blue Book 2020-consistent Quarterly national accounts. A consistent data time series will be published in the release of quarterly country and regional GDP after the Blue Book 2020-consistent regional accounts estimates are published in May 2021.

We welcome feedback and comments on this publication, including on presentation and further development of other data sources.

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8. Strengths and limitations

These data are designated as Experimental Statistics. These are statistics that are in the testing phase. We will continue to develop these statistics and seek users' views on their uses and needs for these data.

While the data sources and methods used in both our regional and national estimates of GDP are broadly similar, there are some clear differences. For example, in the extent to which Value Added Tax (VAT) data are used in the compilation of these estimates.

These estimates aim to produce the best estimates at a subnational level. However, the sum of the UK regions may not equal the national total and there may be some discrepancies at industry level, reflecting that there are some differences in data sources and methods. We have constrained our regional GDP estimates in such a way that minimises the changes to the region by industry quarterly growth rates using automated statistical methods. While the overall impact of this constraining on the regional estimates is small, we will continue to examine the impact of this method and consider options to determine which one is best suited to these data in advance of applying to be assessed as National Statistics.

With the updated data sources, and real world impacts on the data, we have conducted a review of our seasonal adjustment methods. We will continue to review and monitor the outputs as more information becomes available.

Following the announcement by the UK Statistics Authority in March 2019, Construction Output Price Indices, Great Britain construction output statistics and Construction new orders were re-designated as National Statistics. It was noted, however, that the subnational and sub-sector breakdowns were excluded from consideration because of concerns around the path of the subnational estimates of construction output. We have worked closely with the Construction Statistics Steering Group and Consultative Committee on Construction Industry Statistics (CCCIS) on improving these estimates. While these users have acknowledged the improvements in the modelling of these estimates, there is ongoing development work to improve these lower-level estimates as we ultimately look to regain National Statistic status in due course. Any developments in this area will in turn lead to improved accuracy in the Regional GDP estimates.

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Manylion cyswllt ar gyfer y Bwletin ystadegol

Laura Requena
regionalgdp@ons.gov.uk
Ffôn: +44 (0)1633 456085