ONS admits error on construction data

image captionConstruction accounts for about 6% of the UK's economic output

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) has admitted making a statistical error which overstated the rate of growth in the construction industry.

The ONS initially said the sector grew by 2.3% in the April-to-June period compared with the previous quarter.

But it later said the sector had only grown by 0.5%.

Its initial statement had raised hopes that overall economic growth for the quarter could be revised up from a previous estimate of 0.2% to 0.3%.

At about 13:00 BST, the ONS put out a statement saying: "There was an arithmetical error in the final stages of preparation of the Output in Construction estimates published at 09:30 today."

It did not go into detail about what the error was, other than to say that its impact was to overstate the headline growth figure of 2.3%.

At 16:30 BST it put out the corrected version.

Construction accounts for about 6% of economic output in the UK.

However, it helped to drive the economic recovery in the first three quarters of last year as it bounced back from big cuts made during the recession.

But it slipped back into decline at the end of 2010 as the government's austerity measures led to several public sector projects being cancelled.

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