Friday, January 23, 2009
Recession's official - except in retail sales
Posted by David Smith at 09:45 AM
Category: Thoughts and responses

The preliminary estimate of gross domestic product confirmed that the UK economy is officially in recession, with a decline of 1.5% in the fourth quarter after an unrevised 0.6% drop in the third. This was the biggest fall since 1980, with manufacturing alone estimated to have declined by 4.6%. One unexpected drag on the economy was government spending, which fell by 0.5% and helped drag down service-sector output. That may be reversed in the current quarter. Full details here.

In contrast to the GDP figures, retail sales were officially estimated to have risen by 1.6% in December and to have been up by 3.7% on a year earlier. But the figures, detailed here, are full of caveats. The value of retail sales, for example, which is what concerns retailers, was down in December compared with a year earlier.