The way GDP is measured has changed, with revised figures showing the 2008-2009 recession being slightly less severe than previously thought and the economic recovery stronger.

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A new way of measuring UK GDP was introduced in 2014 by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) who say these revisions are “the most wide-ranging in more than a decade”. A complete series of new GDP data was published on 30 September 2014.

Over the period 1998-2013, average annual real GDP growth has been revised up by 0.1%-points from 1.9% to 2.0%. In more recent years, the revisions have been larger. Over the five years from 2008-2012 growth was revised up in every year, by an annual average of 0.5 %-points (growth in 2013 was unrevised). As a result, the severe 2008-2009 recession was a little shallower than previously thought, with the fall in GDP from its pre-recession peak level to the depth of recession now estimated at 6.0% instead of 7.2%.

The revised figures also show that the recovery from the recession was stronger, with GDP estimated to have returned to its pre-recession GDP peak almost a year earlier than previously estimated – in Q3 2013 instead of Q2 2014.

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