HC Deb 24 February 1984 vol 54 c647W
Mr. Skeet

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will publish details of recent revisions to the official index of manufacturing output and make a statement on developments.

Mr. Lawson

Initial estimates of manufacturing output are often revised significantly. Some of the reasons for these adjustments were discussed in an article inEconomic Trends in October 1983. Figures for the third quarter of 1983 have been subject to three revisions since initial publication. They now show an increase of about 1 per cent. on the second quarter level. Estimates for October and November were also raised this month. Together with the initial estimate for December they show a further rise of 1 per cent. between the third and fourth quarters of 1983.

These adjustments have had a considerable impact upon the profile of manufacturing output. The recovery since the hesitation in output in the middle of 1982 now looks much stronger. Manufacturing production appears to have grown by 2.5 to 3 per cent. between the second halves of 1982 and 1983, with higher levels of output evident in most industries. These figures are much more in line with other indicators of activity in manufacturing, notably the increase seen since the summer in average weekly hours and the optimistic responses to recent CBI surveys. Provisional figures for manufacturing investment in the fourth quarter of 1983 confirm the improved outlook foreseen in the Department of Industry's investment intentions survey. An increase of 9 per cent. is projected for 1984.

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