ONS: We got GDP figures wrong by tens of billions

Tim Wallace
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THE BOOM was bigger and the bust was sharper than previously thought, according to major revisions to the last decade’s GDP figures, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said yesterday.

Previously, figures showed cumulative economic growth of 17.9 per cent from 2001 to the end of 2007. That has been revised up to 21.1 per cent.

A deeper recession has also been revealed, with the fall in real GDP now standing at 7.1 per cent rather than earlier estimates of 6.4 per cent.

Growth in 2007 was revised up the most, shifting from 2.7 per cent to 3.5; 2008’s contraction now stands at -1.1 per cent, rather than -0.1 -- the largest annual downward shift in the data.

The ONS said the recession was shorter, however, with the decline ending in 2009’s third, not fourth, quarter.

Since then, the economy has grown by 2.7 per cent, rather than the 2.2 per cent previously calculated, it said.

Growth for the second quarter of 2011 has been revised down from 0.2 per cent to 0.1 per cent.

Changing from the retail price index measure of inflation to the consumer price index, which is usually lower, was a major cause of the revisions. In 2003, this change cut the GDP deflator used by 0.8 percentage points.