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How have the OBR’s forecasts changed over time?

This datalab lets you explore how the OBR’s economic forecasts have changed since their first effort in June 2010. The OBR updates its forecast twice a year, and has a new one out today, included in this chart. Each bubble represents an OBR forecast, starting with Budget 2010 and finishing with today’s Budget.

You will probably spot a pattern – things keep getting worse. The OBR was reasonably optimistic about how quickly the economy would recover in 2010, but it has steadily downgraded its predictions – although things picked up slightly in the latest forecast.

You can explore a number of different indicators by using the drop-down menus: GDP, unemployment, inflation, and public debt. You can also look at what the OBR expects to drive economic growth, by exploring changes in household spending, government spending, business investment and net trade.

Note on the data:

All data is from OBR forecasts. Data on the level of GDP has been calculated from official ONS data (ABMI measure).
For public debt, data is Public Sector Net Debt (PSNB) as a percentage of GDP. For ease of presentation, we have used calendar years rather than fiscal years, so that 2011/12 is shown as 2011.
CPI inflation is forecast for different quarters (normally Q3 or Q4). The headline OBR figure is used in all cases.