GDP growth accelerated to 0.5 per cent the final three months of last year, compared with 0.4 per cent in the previous quarter. Based on this preliminary estimate, the economy grew by 2.2 per cent last year, a little shy of the OBR’s November forecast of 2.4 per cent, and down on 2014’s expansion of 2.9 per cent.
The construction and production sectors shrank, and manufacturing output was flat with the UK’s dominant services sector driving growth.
But it’s worth remembering that this is a flash estimate, based on around two-fifths of the data that the ONS collects about the economy. Initial figures tend to be revised – and they tend to be revised up. Between 1994 and 2014 the quarterly growth rate has been revised up by, on average, more than 0.1 per centage points between the first and latest estimates, enough to add more than half a percent to the annual rate of GDP growth.