We were misled about the revised growth figures

On Friday, 26th February the BBC (and this misleading ONS press release) were reporting (e.g. this report) that revised figures showed an 0.3% rate of growth in the final quarter of 2009 vs the original 0.1% estimate that quarter, implying things weren’t as bad as had been initially estimated.

What such reports failed to mention (as Edmund Conway reports on his Telegraph blog) was that the ONS revised figures affected earlier quarters of 2009, that the recession was deeper than originally estimated and that we finished 2009 with a lower GDP than was originally estimated!

For example, the current estimate for 2009 Q4 growth, states that the GDP is 3.3% lower for Q4 2009 compared to Q4 2008, where the previous preliminary estimate said it was only 3.2% lower than for Q4 2008.

I.e. according to the new estimates, our economic situation was worse, not better, than the old estimates suggested, yet by focusing on the 0.3% vs 0.1% figure for growth in the final quarter, the BBC and the ONS press release implied that the revisions suggested things had not been as bad as feared.

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