By DeAnne Julius, member of the Bank’s Monetary Policy Committee and John Butler of the Bank’s Conjunctural Assessment and Projections Division.
Late in 1997, the Bank set up a project team(1) on the service sector, which aimed to develop a fuller understanding of how the sector operates. The project has drawn on work by others, both from this country and abroad. It tries to reach comprehensive and aggregate conclusions where possible, while still recognising the critical diversity within the huge UK service sector. Through the Bank’s network of regional Agents, the project team has also benefited from discussions with many service businesses. These initial findings are primarily descriptive and backward-looking, typically covering the period 1970–97, or as much of it as the relevant data series allow.(2) They quantify the growing role of services in the UK economy, and identify the key differences revealed by the data between the behaviour of services and the rest of the economy.