GDP monthly estimate, UK: November 2019

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.

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14 January 2020 10:05

The original version of this release contained a minor error in section 2 of the text where it stated 'the services and production sectors contributed positively to gross domestic product'. This has now been corrected to 'the services and construction sectors contributed positively to gross domestic product'

None of the data tables were affected.

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This is an accredited national statistic.

Contact:
Email James Scruton

Release date:
13 January 2020

Next release:
11 February 2020

1. UK GDP grew by 0.1% in the three months to November 2019


Commenting on today’s GDP figures, Head of GDP Rob Kent-Smith said:

“Overall, the economy grew slightly in the latest three months, with growth in construction pulled back by weakening services and another lacklustre performance from manufacturing.

“The UK economy grew slightly more strongly in September and October than was previously estimated, with later data painting a healthier picture.

“Long term, the economy continues to slow, with growth in the economy compared with the same time last year at its lowest since the spring of 2012.

“The underlying trade deficit narrowed as exports grew faster than imports.”

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2. Weakening services and falling production resulted in subdued GDP growth in the three months to November 2019

The services and construction sectors contributed positively to gross domestic product (GDP) growth in the three months to November 2019, growing by 0.1% and 1.1%, respectively. Meanwhile, the production sector fell by 0.6% in the same period, its second consecutive rolling three-month decline.

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3. Rolling three-month growth was 0.1% in the three months to November 2019

Rolling three-month growth was 0.1% in November 2019, down from an upwardly revised 0.2% in October. This followed a period of volatility throughout the first half of 2019, in part linked to changes in the timing of activity around the originally planned departure date of the UK from the European Union.

Rolling three-month growth is based on output gross value added (GVA) and so there will be discrepancies in the time series with our quarterly estimates of gross domestic product (GDP), which include information on the expenditure and income approaches to measuring GDP.

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4. GDP fell by 0.3% in November 2019

Monthly gross domestic product (GDP) fell by 0.3% in November 2019, driven by falls in both services and production. This followed growth of 0.1% in both September and October 2019.

This release incorporates revisions to monthly data back to January 2018, consistent with the Quarterly National Accounts published in December 2019. Overall, revisions to monthly GDP growth were small. However, both September and October 2019 have been revised up by 0.2 and 0.1 percentage points respectively, giving extra strength to the most recent rolling three-month estimate. The revisions to September were predominantly driven by new construction data, whereas October's revisions were driven by new data in services and production.

The monthly growth rate for GDP is volatile and so it should be used with caution and alongside other measures, such as the three-month growth rate, when looking for an indicator of the longer-term trend of the economy. However, it is useful in highlighting one-off changes that can be masked by three-month growth rates.

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5. The services sector grew by 0.1% in the three months to November 2019

Rolling three-month services growth was 0.1% in November 2019, following growth of 0.3% in the three months to October 2019. The main contributor to services growth in the three months to November 2019 was the real estate sector, which experienced broad-based growth across its sub-industries.

Figure 3 shows growth in the most recent three months compared with the same three months a year ago. On this basis, the growth in the most recent period is the lowest it has been since the three months to December 2017, with growth weakening significantly since the peak in the three months to March 2019.

In the month of November, growth in services was negative 0.3%, following an upwardly revised growth of 0.3% in October 2019. Small increases across a small number of industries were more than offset by relatively large falls in several other industries, most notably scientific research and development, and wholesale trade, which each took 0.07 percentage points off monthly gross domestic product (GDP) growth.

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6. Production fell by 0.6% in the three months to November 2019

Rolling three-month growth in the production sector was negative 0.6% in November 2019, with growth in manufacturing at negative 0.8%. There were widespread falls across manufacturing industries, with the most notable being the often-volatile manufacture of pharmaceuticals, which fell by 6.2%. Elsewhere, electricity, gas, steam and air conditioning supply grew by 0.6%, with water supply, and mining and quarrying showing small falls.

Figure 4 shows growth in the most recent three months compared with the same three months a year ago for both production and manufacturing. On this basis, the growth in the most recent period is the lowest it has been since the three months to December 2018, with growth weakening significantly since the peak in the three months to March 2019.

Production fell by 1.2% in the month of November 2019, following growth of 0.4% in October. Within production, manufacturing fell by 1.7%. This was largely driven by large falls in the manufacture of transport equipment, food, and chemicals. These industries were also the main drags on growth in April 2019, just after the UK's original planned date to exit the European Union as shown in Figure 5. This may be indicative of some changes in the timing of activity around the second planned departure in October.

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7. Growth in the construction sector was 1.1% in the three months to November 2019

Rolling three-month growth in the construction sector was 1.1% in November 2019, following growth of 0.8% in October 2019. This growth was driven by infrastructure and private commercial, which grew by 3.0% and 1.8% respectively.

Month-on-month growth in construction was 1.9% in November 2019, following a fall of 2.2% in October 2019. The largest positive contributors to monthly growth were private new housing and non-housing repair and maintenance, which grew by 4.6% and 3.1% respectively.

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8. Things you need to know about this release

This release incorporates the revisions back to January 2018 as published in the December Quarterly National Accounts (QNA) release.

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9. Quality and methodology

Quality and methodology information on strengths, limitations, appropriate uses, and how the data were created is available in the Gross domestic product QMI.

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Contact details for this Statistical bulletin

James Scruton
gdp@ons.gov.uk
Telephone: +44 (0)1633 455284