UK gross domestic product (GDP) is estimated to have increased by 0.1% in Quarter 4 (Oct to Dec) 2022, revised from a first estimate of no growth.
In output terms, the services sector grew by 0.1% and the construction sector grew by 1.3%, while the production sector growth was flat in Quarter 4 2022.
The level of real GDP in Quarter 4 2022 is now estimated to be 0.6% below where it was pre-coronavirus (COVID-19) at Quarter 4 2019, revised upwards from the previous estimate of 0.8% below.
The GDP implied deflator rose by an upwardly revised 7.3% in the year to Quarter 4 2022, primarily reflecting higher cost pressures faced by households.
The household saving ratio increased to 9.3% in Quarter 4 2022, from 8.9% in the previous quarter.
Real households' disposable income (RHDI) increased by 1.3% this quarter after four consecutive quarters of negative growth.
UK gross domestic product (GDP) is estimated to have increased by 0.1% in Quarter 4 (Oct to Dec) 2022, revised up from the previous estimate of no growth (Figure 1). This follows a revised fall of 0.1% in Quarter 3 (July to Sept) 2022, previously estimated as a 0.2% decline.
The level of quarterly GDP in Quarter 4 2022 is now 0.6% below its pre-coronavirus (COVID-19) level (Quarter 4 2019), revised up from the previous estimate of 0.8% below. GDP is now estimated to have increased by 4.1% in 2022, revised up from the previous estimate of 4.0%. Compared with the same quarter a year ago, real GDP increased by 0.6%.
In line with the National Accounts Revision Policy, revisions are open back to Quarter 1 (Jan to Mar) 2022 as part of this publication. There have been some very small revisions to the quarterly path of real GDP, while there have been some revisions to individual components for GDP. For more information, see Section 6: Revisions to GDP.
Early estimates of GDP are subject to revision (positive or negative), for more information please refer to our Communicating the UK economic cycle methodology.
Nominal GDP is estimated to have increased by a revised 2.0% in Quarter 4 2022, where nominal GDP was revised up from a previous estimate of 1.3%.
|Chained volume measures||Current market prices|
Download this table Table 1: Headline national accounts indicators for the UK.xls .csv
The GDP implied deflator represents the broadest measure of inflation in the domestic economy, reflecting changes in the price of all goods and services that comprise GDP. It is important to note that the GDP deflator covers the whole of the economy, not just consumer spending. It increased by a revised 1.9% in Quarter 4 2022, which was primarily driven by higher price pressures for household consumption. There were also increases in the implied price of gross fixed capital formation and exports, while the price of imports fell on the quarter.
Compared with the same quarter a year ago, there was a 7.3% increase in the GDP implied deflator, revised from a first estimate of 6.6%. This has been driven by strong rises for the price of household consumption, while there have been large price movements in internationally traded goods and services (Figure 2). Further information on the price movements of trade is discussed in our article, The purchasing power of GDP, UK: 2022.
Nôl i'r tabl cynnwys
In Quarter 4 (Oct to Dec) 2022, output is now estimated to have increased by 0.1% (revised from flat growth). Services have been revised up to a 0.1% increase, following a first estimate of no growth. Output in the production sector was broadly flat, revised up from a fall of 0.2% in the first estimate. Construction output increased by 1.3% in Quarter 4 2022, following a first estimate of 0.3% growth.
Figure 3 shows the latest estimates of the level of output for the construction, production, and services sub-sectors relative to their Quarter 4 2019 levels. Revisions have been mainly in the manufacturing industries, please refer to the 'Production' subheading in this section for more detail. The revision to services reflects incorporation of Value Added Tax (VAT) data for Quarter 3 (July to Sept) 2022 and updated survey responses in Quarter 4 2022.
Services output rose by 0.1% in Quarter 4 2022, following a 0.2% increase in Quarter 3 2022. Overall the services sector rose by 5.5% in 2022, compared with a 7.0% increase in 2021. Figure 4 shows that there was a mixed performance for the service sub-sectors in Quarter 4 2022, with output increasing in 6 out of the 14 sub-sectors, partially offset by falls in output in 8 sub-sectors.
The largest positive contribution to growth in Quarter 4 2022 was from administrative and support service activities, particularly travel agents, which increased by 10.8% in Quarter 4 2022 following a fall in the previous quarter. However, this was partially largely offset by declines in education (1.5%) and transportation and storage output (2.9%). For further information on the fall in education please see Section 4: Expenditure.
There were falls from postal and courier activities as well as rail transport, as both industries saw strikes taking place across Quarter 4 2022. While the direct impact of the strikes in these industries can be seen in the scale of the falls, we are not able to isolate the impact of these strikes from other factors across the wider economy. However, there was anecdotal evidence to suggest this industrial action had an impact across a wide range of industries. For further information, please see our GDP monthly estimate, UK statistical bulletin.
There was no change in production output in Quarter 4 2022, this follows five quarters of falls. Overall, the production sector saw a 2.8% decline in 2022, compared with a 7.3% increase in 2021. There have, though, been upward revisions to production sub-sectors output through 2022, particularly in manufacturing. Figure 3 shows that production output is now 2.8% above its pre-coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic levels, revised from 1.3% above. While manufacturing is now 3.6% above its pre-coronavirus pandemic levels, revised from being 1.4% above. These upward revisions to manufacturing are driven by the incorporation of Value Added Tax (VAT) data for Quarter 3 2022 and updated data in other quarters. This is the case in particular in the manufacture of computer, electronic and optical products and manufacture of food products, beverages and tobacco.
Within production output, there was an increase in manufacturing output (0.5%), offset by declines in mining and quarrying (2.4%) and electricity, gas, steam, and air conditioning supply (2.1%). There was an increase in 4 of the 13 manufacturing sub-sectors - the largest increases were in the manufacture of basic pharmaceutical products and pharmaceutical preparations (up 14.1%), and manufacture of transport equipment (up 3.7%). There was a decrease in output in 9 sub-sectors. The largest falls were in manufacture of chemicals and chemical products (down 4.5%) and manufacture of rubber and plastic products, and other non-metallic minerals (down 3.0%).
The declines in electricity, gas, steam, and air conditioning supply in the latest quarter continue the falling trend from the previous quarter. As reported in our GDP first quarterly estimate, UK bulletin this mostly reflects falls in energy volumes, as shown in the energy trends data produced by the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero (DESNZ), which might reflect changes in business and consumer behaviour in response to higher energy prices, as well as warmer than average temperatures in October 2022 contributing to less demand.
The latest estimates show that there has been a 1.3% increase in construction output, having previously been estimated to have increased by 0.3%. In Quarter 4 2022 we saw growth in both repair and maintenance (0.8%) and new work (1.6%). Within construction five of the nine sectors saw growth in Quarter 4 2022 with the largest contribution coming from infrastructure, where output increased by 7.3%. In 2022, construction grew by 6.2% following growth of 13.1% in 2021.Nôl i'r tabl cynnwys
There was an increase of 0.2% in household consumption in Quarter 4 (Oct to Dec) 2022. There was also higher investment spending and higher government spending on the quarter. This was partially offset by businesses de-stocking their levels of inventories and a decline in the volume of net trade in Quarter 4 2022.
Figure 6 shows the previous and latest estimates of the level of real spending relative to pre-coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic levels for Quarter 4 2022. The impact of revisions on real gross domestic expenditure over this period have been minimal, although there have been downward revisions to business investment within gross fixed capital formation. For more information, please refer to the gross capital formation section of this bulletin.
Within private consumption, real household expenditure increased by 0.2% in Quarter 4 2022, revised up from an increase of 0.1% in the first quarterly estimate. This quarterly increase was driven by higher spending on net tourism (UK tourists abroad), transport and housing (electricity and gas), partially offset by falls in spending on recreation and culture, and food and drink (Figure 7).
There have been some revisions to the quarterly path in 2022, mainly reflecting revised tourism expenditure. These revisions primarily impact on the national concept of household expenditure, which includes spending by UK residents abroad, and excludes foreign nationals' spending in the UK. For fuller details, these concepts are explained in our User guide to consumer trends and our Definitions and conventions for UK household final consumption expenditure methodology. These net tourism revisions have also been reflected in net trade, therefore there is no impact on gross domestic product (GDP).
There was also an upward revision to nominal household consumption expenditure. This is now estimated to have increased by 2.5% on the quarter, revised up from the first estimate of 1.3%. There are revised nominal estimates of spending on financial services, in particular financial intermediation services indirectly measured (FISIM). This is the implied charge by financial intermediaries on loans and deposits.
Consumption of government goods and services
Real government expenditure increased by 0.5% in Quarter 4 2022, revised down from a previous estimate of 0.8%. The quarterly increase is driven by central government, with the largest rise being in public administration and defence, followed by health. The health volumes increase reflected some effects of a higher number of coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccinations, including the effects of the autumn booster campaign. Within the non-COVID-19 health activity, elective operations and out-patient attendance were affected by strike action during December 2022, weakening growth.
There was a 1.5% fall in education volumes in the final quarter of the year, reflecting lower attendance throughout Quarter 4 2022 particularly in December 2022. This saw a significant drop in attendance levels in the run-up to Christmas, where anecdotal evidence points to concerns around the transmission of COVID-19 before the Christmas holidays.
Gross capital formation
Gross fixed capital formation (GFCF) increased by 0.3% in Quarter 4 2022, revised down from a first estimate increase of 1.5%.
Early estimates of business investment are particularly prone to revision, including nominal and real estimates of expenditure. Business investment is now estimated to have fallen by 0.2% in Quarter 4 2022, revised down from a first estimate increase of 4.8%. Figure 8 shows that business investment saw notable revisions to estimates across all quarters of 2022 following a further review of the early estimates. Revisions in the latest periods in particular are largely because of a combination of new survey data, along with a review and refresh of seasonal adjustment parameters, resulting in seasonally adjusted data being revised. Under our revisions policy, 2022 data have been updated in this release, and 2021 will be revised in September 2023 as part of the annual Blue Book update. GDP headline estimates are unaffected by these revisions because of both their size and the GDP balancing process itself.
Business investment is now estimated to be 2.2% below its pre-coronavirus pandemic level, revised down from previously being equal. For further information on revisions, please refer to our Business investment in the UK bulletin.
There have been revisions to current price and volume estimates of business investment, which has an impact on its implied price over the last year in particular. Its implied price increased by 0.7% in Quarter 4 2022, an upward revision from the first estimate of a 7.2% decline. These revisions are because of updated estimates in particular for transport products, as well as seasonal adjustment changes.
Excluding the alignment and balancing adjustments, estimates show that inventories fell by £2.2 billion in Quarter 4 2022, revised up from a fall of £6.9 billion in the first estimate. The fall in inventories was driven by reductions particularly for manufacturing industries.
|Change in |
|2022 Q1||Current price||12314||-2806||15120|
|2022 Q1||Chained volume measure||8822||-2554||11376|
|2022 Q2||Current price||14229||2106||12123|
|2022 Q2||Chained volume measure||7979||1932||6047|
|2022 Q3||Current price||3105||-3002||6107|
|2022 Q3||Chained volume measure||-3923||-2635||-1288|
|2022 Q4||Current price||5777||3702||500||1575|
|2022 Q4||Chained volume measure||1538||3257||500||-2219|
Download this table Table 2: Change in inventories, including and excluding balancing and alignment adjustments.xls .csv
The UK's departure from the EU has affected the way trade in goods is recorded. In January 2021, data collection for goods exports from Great Britain to the EU moved from the Intrastat survey to customs declarations. That was followed a year later (January 2022) by a move from Intrastat to customs declarations for imports of goods from the EU to Great Britain. The Office for National Statistics (ONS) communicated that both moves affected the trade statistics time series and we recently applied adjustments to imports of goods from the EU in 2021, to bring imports and exports on a like-for-like basis for that year. We are currently looking closely at whether further adjustments can be made to the back series to create a consistent historical series. For more information, see our Impact of trade in goods data collection changes on UK trade statistics: 2020 to 2022 article, and our Impact of trade in goods data collection changes on UK trade statistics: adjustments to 2021 EU imports estimates article.
In addition, when the requirement for customs declaration was introduced for imports of goods to Great Britain from the EU in January 2022, a new policy of Staged Customs Controls was also implemented. This allowed importers to delay their customs declarations by up to 175 days from the date the goods entered the country in 2021. It is possible that some double counting occurred, with imports in the second half of 2021 recorded by the Intrastat Survey, then some appearing again on customs declarations in the first half of 2022. We are working closely with HM Revenue and Customs, analysing trends at product level to understand what adjustments to 2022 imports estimates may be needed. For more detail, see our Trading places: How we are producing consistent estimates of trade figures following the UK's EU exit blog.
The UK's trade deficit for goods and services was 1.1% of nominal GDP in Quarter 4 2022, revised upwards from a first estimate deficit of 1.3%. However, there have been large movements in non-monetary gold over the last quarter, which can be volatile. Excluding non-monetary gold, the trade deficit was 4.0% of nominal GDP in Quarter 4 2022, revised up from a first estimate deficit of 4.2% (Figure 9).
Export volumes decreased by 1.4% in the latest quarter, revised downwards from a fall of 1.0% in the previous estimate. This fall was driven by a decrease of 2.8% in exports of services volumes with falls in intellectual property, and other business services. Exports of goods volumes remained flat in Quarter 4 2022.
Import volumes fell by 0.2% in the latest quarter, revised down from an increase of 1.5% in the previous estimate. This fall was driven by imports of services volumes (down 4.8%) with declines in financial services and other business services.Nôl i'r tabl cynnwys
Nominal gross domestic product (GDP) increased by 2.0% in Quarter 4 (Oct to Dec) 2022, revised from the previous estimate of 1.3%.
The quarterly rise was driven by increases in gross operating surplus, compensation of employees and other income. This was partially offset by a fall in taxes less subsidies, reflecting the large increase in subsidy payments because of the Energy Price Guarantee Scheme and the Energy Bill Relief Scheme (Figure 10).
Compensation of employees increased by 1.6% in Quarter 4 2022, reflecting a rise in wages and salaries of 1.9% and a small increase of 0.2% in employers' social contributions. This has been revised from the previous estimate of 1.1%.
Revised estimates show that taxes less subsidies fell by 10.9% in Quarter 4 2022, revised from a previous estimate fall of 22.5% where we have received more up-to-date information on recent subsidy payments. This was driven by a large increase in subsidies because of the energy price guarantee scheme and the energy bill relief scheme.
In October 2022, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) announced that the Energy Price Guarantee Scheme had been classified as a subsidy on products from central government to energy suppliers in the non-financial corporations sector in the UK. For more information, see our Energy Price Guarantee classification.
The equivalent support scheme for businesses and non-domestic customers was announced as the Energy Bill Relief Scheme. This scheme will provide a discount on gas and electricity unit prices and the UK government will compensate the suppliers for this reduction. In October 2022, we announced that the scheme had also been classified as a subsidy on products from central government to energy suppliers in the non-financial corporations sector in the UK. For more information, see our Energy Bill Relief Scheme classification. This quarter's figure is updated from the GDP first quarterly estimate, UK: October to December 2022, however this will be revised over the coming months as firmer data become available.
Total gross operating surplus (GOS) of corporations increased by 8.5% in Quarter 4 2022, revised down from the previous estimate of 15.2%. However, excluding the alignment adjustment, corporations' GOS increased by 1.2% (Table 3), reflecting the Energy Price Guarantees Schemes in private non-financial corporations GOS. However, data content for this component is low at this stage, for more information see our Introducing a new publication model for GDP article. This is reflected in the larger than normal Quarter 4 2022 alignment adjustment (Table 2), as well as challenges in balancing GDP. More detail can be found in Section 11: Measuring the data.
Elsewhere in GOS of corporations, there were increases of 1.4% in financial corporations and 1.5% in public corporations.
Download this table Table 3: Gross operating surplus of corporations, including and excluding alignment adjustments.xls .csv
In line with the National Accounts Revisions Policy, the dataset is open to revision back to Quarter 1 (Jan to Mar) 2022 as part of this publication. Figure 1 shows the revised estimates of average real GDP compared with the first estimate.
Table 4 shows the revisions to quarter-on-quarter growth for the components of GDP. This release also includes the processing of some annual data for 2022.
We have also incorporated Value Added Tax (VAT) turnover data up to Quarter 3 (July to Sept) 2022 to better estimate the output of small businesses for some industries in the output approach to GDP. VAT turnover has only been used to estimate growth rates, with the overall level of output still derived from the Annual Business Survey and other annual benchmark sources.
In addition to the annual benchmarks and integration of VAT turnover, there are also revisions in this release because of the replacement of forecasts with actual survey or external source data and new seasonal adjustment factors.
|2022 Q1||2022 Q2||2022 Q3||2022 Q4|
|Average GDP in|
|Average GDP in|
|Compensation of employees||-0.1||0.2||0.1||0.5|
|Taxes on products|
Download this table Table 4: Revisions to quarter-on-quarter growth for components of GDP.xls .csv
Households' saving ratio (seasonally adjusted)
The household saving ratio increased to 9.3% in Quarter 4 (Oct to Dec) 2022, from 8.9% in the previous quarter (Figure 11).
Driving the 9.3% headline saving ratio, is the rise in household income of £12.6 billion, itself driven by miscellaneous current transfers which reached the highest level on record at £8.8 billion, increasing by £6.7 billion compared with the previous quarter. A large contributor to this increase, £5.7 billion, were payments received by households from government under the Energy Bills Support Scheme. The scheme provided households in England, Scotland and Wales with a £400 payment spread over a period of six months beginning on 1 October 2022, to help with their winter energy bills.
Further detail on the scheme can be found on the Help with your energy bills webpage on GOV.UK. Details on how we classified the scheme and other energy support packages can be found in our Public sector classification guide and forward work plan.
Also contributing to the rise in household income were the combined increase of £8.9 billion compared with Quarter 3 (July to Sept) 2022 in wages and salaries, operating surplus and mixed income (the income of the self employed).
Partially offsetting the rise in income, household final consumption expenditure, deducted from households' total income to create households' saving, rose by £9.5 billion from the previous quarter. This was driven by growth in household final consumption expenditure on gas and electricity, which increased by £3.7 billion, and was less than expected because of milder weather in the autumn and the effect of the Energy Price Guarantee Scheme on the cost of energy consumed by households.
Also offsetting the rise in household income was a fall in the adjustment for the change in pension entitlements of £1.6 billion after reaching a record high in Quarter 3 2022 of £29.9 billion. Levels remain high in the current quarter, and as seen in Figure 1, pensions saving remain at an elevated level compared with previous quarters.
The high level of the adjustment for the change in pension entitlements is because of gilt yields remaining high in Quarter 4 2022, but below their record Quarter 3 2022 levels. The high level of the adjustment for the change in pension entitlements in Quarter 3 was primarily because of a combination of economic factors which caused gilt yields to rise sharply as UK gilt prices fell. Rising gilt yields can affect pension actuarial modelling assumptions. For further methodology on estimation of pensions in the national accounts, see the Impact on household contribution supplements and saving section of our Pensions in the national accounts, a fuller picture of the UK's funded and unfunded pension obligations: 2010 to 2015 article.
Real households' disposable income (seasonally adjusted)
Real households' disposable income (RHDI) saw growth of 1.3% after four consecutive quarters of negative growth. Within RHDI, nominal gross disposable income saw strong growth at 3.6%, the largest quarter on quarter growth since Quarter 2 (Apr to June) 1999, when it was 4.1%. As mentioned above, the Energy Bills Support Scheme drove the growth. Private sector wage growth also contributed to nominal income growth.
Nominal income growth outpaced the household expenditure implied deflator, which grew by 2.3% this quarter. Driving the quarterly growth in the household deflator are price increases in gas and electricity, and financial intermediation services indirectly measured (FISIM).
Non-financial account net lending and borrowing (seasonally adjusted)
The UK's borrowing position with the rest of the world as a percentage of gross domestic product (GDP) decreased to 0.6% in Quarter 4 2022 from 2.1% in Quarter 3 2022.
Financial corporations increased their net lending position to 3.7% of GDP in Quarter 4 2022 from 1.9% of GDP in the previous quarter. This was driven by a fall in gross capital formation of £5.3 billion, which was driven by the acquisition less disposal of non-monetary gold. There was also a rise in net property income of £5.0 billion, which was driven by an increase in net re-invested earnings on foreign direct investment.
Non-financial corporations switched to net lending of 2.6% of GDP in Quarter 4 2022, following a net borrowing position of 0.1% in Quarter 3 2022. Within non-financial corporations, private non-financial corporations' (PNFCs) saw a rise of £10.9 billion in their gross operating surplus reflecting the Energy Price Guarantees Schemes. Added to this, net property income increased by £10.0 billion, which was driven by dividends paid out during the quarter.
Households saw no change to their net lending position of 2.1% as a percentage of GDP in Quarter 4 2022 when compared with Quarter 3 2022. However, households nominal net lending increased to £13.4 billion in Quarter 4 2022, following a net lending position of £13.0 billion in Quarter 3 2022. This was driven by a rise in miscellaneous current transfers driven by the Energy Bills Support Scheme and a rise in wages and salaries of the private sector. This was partially offset by a £9.5 billion rise in final consumption as described in the Households' saving ratio (seasonally adjusted) section of this bulletin.
Offsetting these net lending positions, general government saw an increase in their net borrowing position to 7.0% of GDP in Quarter 4 2022 from net borrowing of 4.1% as a percentage of GDP in Quarter 3 2022. Central government saw an increase in current transfers paid out of £8.8 billion. As previously seen, £5.7 billion of the increase was because of the Energy Bills Support Scheme. Subsidies paid out by government to non-financial corporations also increased by £8.4 billion driven by the Energy Price Guarantee and Energy Bills Relief Scheme subsidy payments to energy providers.
Financial account net lending and borrowing (not seasonally adjusted)
Households increased their net lending in the financial account to £27.4 billion in Quarter 4 2022, following a net lending position of £18.9 billion in Quarter 3 2022. This was driven by a fall in loans secured on dwellings of £6.9 billion.
Financial corporations increased their net lending to £20.8 billion in Quarter 4 2022 following net lending of £16.4 billion in Quarter 3 2022. This was driven by a rise of £137.2 in net equity and investment fund shares, offset by a fall in net loans of £87.6 billion.
Non-financial corporations increased net borrowing to £9.1 billion in Quarter 4 2022 from £7.6 billion in Quarter 3 2022. In the sub-sector, public non-financial corporations switched to net borrowers of £0.4 billion in Quarter 4 2022, from being net lenders of £1.2 billion in Quarter 3 2022. This was driven by a fall in deposits held with UK monetary financial institutions of £1.5 billion.
Private non-financial corporations decreased their borrowing to £8.7 billion in Quarter 4 2022 from borrowing £8.9 billion in the previous quarter. This was because of a fall in loan liabilities of £70.3 billion, partially offset by falls in loan assets of £24.1 billion and in other accounts receivable of £30.2 billion.
General government increased their net borrowing to £54.0 billion following on from £29.0 billion in the previous quarter. This was driven by a rise in long term central government issued debt securities of £62.4 billion, and partially offset by a decrease in other accounts payable of £30.5 billion.
Rest of the world increased its net lending to £13.3 billion in Quarter 4 2022 following on from £2.0 billion in Quarter 3 2022. This was driven by the acquisition of short-term debt securities issued by UK monetary financial institutions of £61.6 billion, a rise in net loans of £55.0 billion and a rise of currency and deposits by £42.2 billion. This has been largely offset by an increase of shares and other equity issued by the rest of the world of £75.3 billion.
Quarter 3 2022 has experienced larger than usual revisions to short term loans issued by the rest of the world monetary financial institutions, which revised downwards by £80.3 billion as a result of Bank for International Settlements data replacing forecast estimates.Nôl i'r tabl cynnwys
|Quarter on previous quarter (%)||Quarter on|
(%), 2022 Q4
|Annual growth (%)|
|Country||2022 Q1||2022 Q2||2022 Q3||2022 Q4||2022 Q4||2021||2022|
Download this table Table 5: Real GDP growth for the G7 economies.xls .csv
GDP - data tables
Dataset | Released 31 March 2023
Annual and quarterly data for UK gross domestic product (GDP) estimates, in chained volume measures and current market prices.
GDP in chained volume measures - real-time database (ABMI)
Dataset | Released 31 March 2023
Quarterly levels for UK gross domestic product (GDP), in chained volume measures at market prices.
GDP at current prices - real-time database (YBHA)
Dataset | Released 31 March 2023
Quarterly levels for UK gross domestic product (GDP) at current market prices.
Contribution to growth
Contribution to growth indicates how many percentage points a sector or industry is adding or removing from a given growth rate, usually headline gross domestic product (GDP) growth.
Chained volume measure
Data in chained volume measures (CVM) within this bulletin have had the effect of price changes removed (in other words, the data are deflated), except for income data, which are only available in current prices.
Gross domestic product (GDP)
A measure of the economic activity produced by a country or region. GDP growth is the main indicator of economic performance. There are three approaches used to measure GDP:
- the output approach
- the expenditure approach
- the income approach
Data relative to a given base value, which typically refers to a particular year or quarter.
For further definitions, please see our Glossary of economic terms.Nôl i'r tabl cynnwys
Reaching the GDP balance
The different data content and quality of the three approaches - the output approach, the expenditure approach and the income approach - dictate the approach taken in balancing quarterly data. In the UK, there are more data available on output in the short term than in either of the other two approaches. To obtain the best estimate of gross domestic product (GDP) (the published figure), the estimates from all three approaches are balanced to produce an average, except in the latest two quarters where the output data take the lead because of the larger data content.
Quarterly GDP is a balanced measure of the three approaches, while the GDP monthly estimate focuses on gross value added (GVA) and output as a proxy for GDP. This results in data differences (in both levels and growths terms) between the quarterly publications (average GDP) and the GDP monthly estimate (output approach to GDP). Quarterly GDP is the lead measure of GDP because of its higher data content and inclusion of variables, which enable the conversion from a GVA concept to a GDP basis.
Information on the methods we use for Balancing the output, income and expenditure approaches to measuring GDP is available.
Alignment adjustments, found in Table M of the GDP data tables, have a target limit of plus or minus £3,000 million on any quarter. However, in periods where the data sources are particularly difficult to balance, larger alignment adjustments are sometimes needed as explained in our article, Recent challenges of balancing the three approaches of GDP. Our standard practice is to prefer that the alignment adjustment be out of tolerance rather than over-adjust individual GDP components to achieve a balance. This is most likely to occur in the latest quarter where the constraints are larger, where we must align to the output estimate for that change in GDP, and where the data content is at its lowest.
In this quarter, the alignment adjustment, used to align expenditure and income to average GDP, is larger than normal (Table 2 and Table 3), reflecting the current challenges and uncertainties within the expenditure and income approaches. Work will continue with a focus on the expenditure and income approaches to GDP, and we will continue to review this over the coming months as and when more information becomes available.
To achieve a balanced GDP dataset through alignment, balancing adjustments are applied to the components of GDP where data content is particularly weak in a given quarter because of a higher level of forecast content. The balancing adjustments applied in this estimate are shown in Table 6. The resulting series should be considered accordingly.
|Q1 2022||Q2 2022||Q3 2022||Q4 2022|
|Trade in services||Current prices||2200||2000||1500||4500|
|Gross operating surplus |
|Wages and salaries||Current prices||500||750||750|
Download this table Table 6: Balancing adjustments applied to the GDP quarterly national accounts dataset.xls .csv
GDP monthly estimate
Although this release focuses on providing the best quarterly estimate of GDP, an indicative monthly path for the updated time series is provided in our Indicative monthly GDP - consistent with quarterly national accounts dataset. A full breakdown of the monthly data consistent with this quarterly release will be available in the next monthly GDP release (on 13 April 2023).Nôl i'r tabl cynnwys
The UK National Accounts are drawn together using data from many different sources. This ensures that they are comprehensive and provide different perspectives on the economy, for example, sales by retailers and purchases by households. Further information on measuring gross domestic product (GDP) can be found in our Guide to the UK National Accounts, and more quality and methodology information (QMI) is available in our Gross domestic product (GDP) QMI.
Important quality information
There are common pitfalls in interpreting data series, and these include:
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".
Many different approaches can be used to summarise revisions; the "Accuracy and reliability" section in our Gross domestic product (GDP) QMI analyses the mean average revision and the mean absolute revision for GDP estimates over data publication iterations.
GDP estimates for 2022 are subject to more uncertainty than usual as a result of the challenges we faced estimating GDP in the current conditions. Differences in the methods for estimating the output of health and education services across different countries mean GDP may be less internationally comparable during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and recovery than usual, so comparisons should be made with increased caution. For more information, please refer to our Why has UK GDP fallen so sharply in the pandemic? blog.Nôl i'r tabl cynnwys
Office for National Statistics (ONS), released 31 March 2023, ONS website, statistical bulletin, GDP quarterly national accounts, UK: October to December 2022
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