- if you take prostitution and illegal drugs into account.
The Indy reports that the adoption of a new EU-wide accounting method (ESA2010), which incorporates estimates of activity in the black economy for the first time, has enabled the Office for National Statistics to paint a slightly rosier picture of the late noughties. The fall in GDP from the first quarter of 2008, when the American-led and UK-assisted credit crunch first hit, to the low point in 2009 was "only" 6%, as against the previous estimate of 7.2%.
While the revision may mean that that "UK output returned to its pre-crisis peak in the third quarter of 2013, almost a year earlier than previously thought", "the ONS itself [...] said that the changes did not significantly change the picture of the economy's performance since the recession. 'Although the downturn was less deep than previously estimated and subsequent growth stronger, it remains the case that the UK experienced the deepest recession since ONS records began in 1948'".
It will be interesting to see what effect ESA2010 has on Spain's revised figures, due to be published on 25th September. It has been estimated that the black economy accounts for about 25% of Spain's activity, on a par with that of Greece.