Quarterly national accounts - GDP and employment

Data extracted on 12 April 2019.

Planned article update: 19 July 2019.

Highlights

GDP up by 0.2 % and employment up by 0.3 % in the euro area in the fourth quarter of 2018.

GDP up by 0.3 % and employment up by 0.2 % in the EU-28 in the fourth quarter of 2018.

GDP and employment growth rates in the fourth quarter of 2018, % change over the previous quarter, based on seasonally adjusted data

This article presents key messages and data extractions based on Eurostat's updated estimation of quarterly gross domestic product (GDP) and employment for the fourth quarter of 2018 in the European Union (EU-28) and euro area (EA-19) released on 12 April 2019. This completes a sequence of quarterly estimates of European main national accounts aggregates (including employment) that are based on available country data (see previous news releases). Notable revisions for gross fixed capital formation and imports are mostly related to the incorporation of Irish data. Updated annual employment estimates are presented in a separate article.

Full article


Quarterly GDP growth

GDP up by 0.2 % in the euro area and by 0.3 % in the EU-28

GDP rose by 0.2 % in the euro area (EA-19) and by 0.3 % in the EU-28 during the fourth quarter of 2018, compared with the previous quarter, according to an estimate (see Data sources below) published by Eurostat. In the third quarter of 2018, GDP grew by 0.1 % in the euro area (EA-19) and by 0.3 % in the EU-28.

Compared with the same quarter of the previous year, seasonally adjusted GDP rose by 1.2 % in the euro area and by 1.5 % in the EU-28 in the fourth quarter of 2018, after +1.6 % in the euro area and +1.8 % in the EU-28 in the previous quarter.

During the fourth quarter of 2018, GDP in the United States increased by 0.5 % compared with the previous quarter (after +0.8 % in the third quarter of 2018). Compared with the same quarter of the previous year, GDP rose by 3.0 % (after also +3.0 % in the previous quarter).

Table 1: Growth rates of GDP in volume (based on seasonally adjusted data) 2018Q4 - Source: Eurostat (namq_10_gdp)


Figure 1: GDP growth rates, % change over the previous quarter, based on seasonally adjusted data, 2018Q4 - Source: Eurostat (namq_10_gdp)

GDP growth by Member State

Among the Member States, Estonia (+2.2 %), Lithuania (+1.3 %), Latvia and Sweden (both +1.2 %) recorded the highest growth compared with the previous quarter in the fourth quarter of 2018, while negative growth was recorded in Greece and Italy (both -0.1 %).

Figure 2: GDP growth rates in the fourth quarter of 2018, % change over the previous quarter, based on seasonally adjusted data - Source: Eurostat (namq_10_gdp)

GDP components and contributions to growth

During the fourth quarter of 2018, household final consumption expenditure rose by 0.2 % in the euro area and by 0.3 % in the EU-28 (after +0.1 % in the euro area and +0.2 % in the EU-28 in the previous quarter). Gross fixed capital formation rose by 1.3 % in the euro area and by 0.8% in the EU-28 (after +0.5 % and +0.4 % respectively). Exports rose by 1.2 % in the euro area and by 1.4 % in the EU-28 (after +0.2 % and +0.3 %). Imports rose by 1.1 % in the euro area and by 1.3 % in the EU-28 (after +1.1 % and +0.9 %).

Household final consumption expenditure had a positive contribution to GDP growth in both the euro area and the EU-28 (+0.1 percentage points – pp in the euro area and +0.2 pp in EU-28). The contribution of gross fixed capital formation was positive in both the euro area and in the EU-28 (+0.3 pp in the euro area and +0.2 pp in the EU-28). The change in inventories was negative in both the euro area and EU-28 (-0.4 pp and -0.3 pp respectively) and the contribution of the external balance was positive for both zones.

Figure 3: Decomposition of GDP growth by expenditure aggregates, contributions to growth (over the previous quarter) in percentage points, 2018Q4 - Source: Eurostat (namq_10_gdp)

Quarterly employment growth

Number of persons employed up by 0.3 % in the euro area and by 0.2 % in the EU-28

The number of persons employed increased by 0.3 % in the euro area and by 0.2% in the EU-28 in the fourth quarter of 2018 compared with the previous quarter. In the third quarter of 2018, employment increased by 0.2 % in both zones. Hours worked increased by 0.2 % in the euro area and was stable in the EU-28 in the fourth quarter of 2018 (after +0.4 % and +0.5 % respectively in the third quarter of 2018). Compared with the same quarter of the previous year, employment based on persons increased by 1.3 % in the euro area and by 1.2 % in the EU-28 in the fourth quarter of 2018 (after +1.4 % and +1.3 % respectively in the third quarter of 2018).

These data on employment provide a picture of labour input consistent with the output and income measure of national accounts.

Table 2: Growth rates of employment in persons 2018Q4 - Source: Eurostat (namq_10_a10_e)


Figure 4: Growth of employment in persons and hours worked, % change over the previous quarter, based on seasonally adjusted data, 2018Q4 - Source: Eurostat (namq_10_a10_e)

Employment growth by Member State

Among EU Member States, Malta (+1.9 %), Estonia (+1.7 %), Luxembourg (+1.0 %) as well as Cyprus, Finland and Sweden (all +0.8 %) recorded the highest growth rates in employment compared with the previous quarter in the fourth quarter of 2018. Decreases were observed in Poland (-1.2 %), Latvia (-0.6 %), Bulgaria and Italy (both -0.2 %).

Figure 5: Employment growth rates in the fourth quarter of 2018, % change over the previous quarter, based on seasonally adjusted data - Source: Eurostat (namq_10_a10_e)

Employment at highest level in persons but still under pre-crisis level in hours worked

Based on seasonally adjusted figures, Eurostat estimates that in the fourth quarter of 2018, 239.9 million people were employed in the EU-28, of whom 159.0 million were in the euro area. These are the highest levels of employment ever recorded in both areas. More specifically, the number of persons employed has increased by 10.2 million in the euro area and by 15.8 million in the EU-28 since the lowest level of employment after the financial crisis (second quarter of 2013 for the euro area, first quarter of 2013 for the EU-28). The total number of hours worked is now also above its previous peak in the EU-28, but still below for the EA-19.

Figure 6: Evolution of employment in persons and hours worked, Index 2010=100, based on seasonally adjusted data, 2018Q4 - Source: Eurostat (namq_10_a10_e)

Labour productivity

The combination of GDP and employment data allows an estimation of labour productivity. The analysis of growth compared to the same quarter of the previous year shows that productivity growth (based on employed persons) fluctuated around 1 % for both zones between 2013 and 2017. The last quarters show a decline in labour productivity based on persons that is more pronounced for the euro area than for the EU-28, since the slowdown of growth was relatively more pronounced for GDP than for employment in the euro area. Productivity growth turned negative for the euro area in the fourth quarter of 2018. Similar trends are observed for productivity measures based on hours worked.

Figure 7: Labour productivity growth rates, % change over the same quarter of the previous year, based on seasonally adjusted data, 2018Q4 - Source: Eurostat (namq_10_lp_ulc)

Data sources

Eurostat collects GDP and employment data in the framework of ESA 2010. See here for more details. Additional information on the dissemination of ESA 2010 data is available under latest news on the dedicated website and in the database section National accounts (ESA 2010) (na10)

European aggregates are revised at specific release dates. The preliminary flash estimate of GDP growth in the first quarter of 2019 will be released on 30 April 2019 and will be updated on 15 May 2019. The next regular estimates of European aggregates are due on 6 June 2019 (for both GDP and employment estimates).

The detailed tables of GDP and Employment estimate 2018Q4 Microsoft Excel 2010 Logo.png are available here.

Context

Quarterly figures on the evolution of gross domestic product (GDP) and its main aggregates are among the most significant indicators of the state of any economy, be it at a national or European level, and are of key interest to users. Typical users of quarterly national accounts (QNA) figures are market analysts, forecasters or economic and monetary policy advisors interested in assessing the state of the current business cycle.

The ESA 2010 distinguishes between two employment concepts depending on geographical coverage: resident persons in employment (i.e. the national scope of employment) and employment in resident production units irrespective of the place of residence of the employed person (i.e. domestic scope). The ESA 2010 recognises several employment measures: persons, hours worked and jobs. Eurostat publishes mainly employment data measured in persons and in hours worked.

Direct access to
Other articles
Tables
Database
Dedicated section
Publications
Methodology
Legislation
Visualisations
External links





Main tables

Annual national accounts (t_nama_10)
Quarterly national accounts (t_namq_10)

Database

Annual national accounts (nama_10)
Quarterly national accounts (namq_10)

Methodology