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Construction figures revised but can we believe them?

There is more confusion in economic circles with news that the Office for National Statistics has revised third-quarter construction activity from a 1.1% drop in output to a 2% increase in output. This will add 0.2% to the overall GDP figures which would indicate that the UK economy contracted by 0.2% during the third quarter of 2009 and is in fact poised for a return to positive growth in the final quarter of 2009. So why have the figures been revised?

It is difficult to understand how official figures can be revised from a drop of 2% to rise 1.1% during a three-month period. The problem now is that the more revisions which are released to the public domain the more unreliable the figures become (in the eyes of analysts) and the less influence they will have on the overall opinion of economists and analysts. Many analysts had expected the UK economy to contract by 0.1% or 0.2% during the third quarter of 2009 although the initial figure was revealed to be a contraction of 0.4%. While this has now been revised it does make you wonder whether we can trust the revised figures, figures for the month before and the figures for next month?

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