The many City economists who have been accused of having egg on their faces because they thought the initial UK third quarter growth figures looked funny, no longer look silly. The Office For National Statistics has just revised up its estimate of construction output in the third quarter from an estimate of -1.1 per cent to +2.1 per cent.
Alone, this will almost eliminate the recorded contraction in the third quarter (reducing the quarterly decline to 0.1 per cent), makes the Bank’s growth forecasts appear less outlandishly rosy, brings Britain’s official figures closer into line other indicators of the period and the European norm, and brings the eventual exit from 0.5 per cent interest rates and £200bn of quantitative easing a small step closer.
For officials and the minority of economists who insisted the initial figures were accurate and the City was whinging because it had got things wrong, this is a tad embarrassing. This is how the ONS put it this morning.