Belfast Telegraph

Red-faced ONS blames gremlins for growth figures slip-up

Number-crunching gremlins at the Office of National Statistics have briefly raised the prospect of a significant upward revision to the UK's second-quarter economic growth figures.

But figures showing 2.3 per cent growth in construction industry output in the second quarter – a big leap on the 0.5 per cent estimate in the recent GDP calculations – were revised back down to 0.5 per cent when an error was spotted.

An embarrassed ONS blamed an "arithmetical error" in the late stages of its calculations. And by late afternoon, prospects of a major GDP upgrade faded as the bureau published a corrected version, with construction output in line at 0.5 per cent quarter-on-quarter growth.

"There will be no revision to the preliminary GDP estimates next month from construction, whatever happens in other sectors," an ONS spokesman said.

Alongside the quarter-on-quarter growth figures, the ONS report shows the total volume of construction output down by 1.6 per cent compared with the same period in 2010.

New work rose by 2.4 per cent quarter-on-quarter, while repair and maintenance fell by 3.2 per cent.

Belfast Telegraph