GDP – a quick glance

Very quick one this. I should start by saying that economics is not really my thing. If you want pithy explanation of complex theories, go and see Tim Harford.

What I do try to do, if I can, is help others understand stuff that I think I’ve got a bit of a handle on. In this instance, I’ve been having a conversation about the Office for National Statistics graph reproduced here by the BBC. And as I can’t produce my own graphs on the site where the original conversation was taking place, this seems as good a place as any. Better, actually – if I put it anywhere else the site owner would probably get cross.

All I have done is made one assumption – that UK GDP as at 31st December 2004 was £1.5trillion – and then plugged in the quarterly growth figures which are evident in the ONS graph, to come up with a line graph which shows the actual change in GDP over the period. And here it is, in extremely ropey “Excel to GIF” conversion.

GDP over six years

GDP change over six years

This is a graph that can genuinely be used to visualise the change in GDP over the six-year period, rather than having to mentally project the quarterly growth rates. It’s very simplistic – it’s not adjusted “per person” or index-linked or any other statistical tomfoolery – but I hope it helps a little bit.

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