HOPES THAT the recession ended between July and September were boosted yesterday after official statisticians made a “mighty revision” in their assessment of the construction sector.
The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said that construction output rose by 2 per cent in the third quarter, contradicting its most recent estimates for GDP, which factored in a 1.1 per cent drop in construction output. The ONS said that the change would increase the overall GDP figures by 0.2 percentage points.
Yesterday’s revision could result in this figure being revised up to show a marginal 0.1 per cent decline when the final estimate of GDP is published on December 22.
The growth in the construction sector was driven by a 10 per cent quarterly rise in activity in maintenance and repair, although the volume of new work fell 4 per cent.
Work on non-housing maintenance and repair, which includes work on public infrastructure such as hospitals, schools and roads, leapt by 26 per cent between July and September compared with the previous quarter.
Private sector housing repair also rose by 6 per cent in the third quarter, as potential homebuyers deferred moving house and instead improved their existing properties. Public sector housing repair and maintenance work was also 9 per cent higher in the third quarter, the ONS said.
New housing work picked up, with a 14 per cent rise in work in the third quarter compared with the second quarter, the ONS said, but new infrastructure output and construction work in the industrial sectors both dropped on a quarterly basis.
There are hopes that the final estimate of GDP could actually show that the economy stopped contracting or even grew between July and September if further revisions are made to the services sector.