New figures from National Accounts show that GDP Mainland Norway grew 0.4 per cent from December to January, seasonally and calendar-adjusted and measured in fixed prices. Household consumption declined 0.4 per cent, due to a fall in car purchases.

– The growth in January came after a decline the month before. Broadly speaking, the underlying picture is that the economy is developing flatly, as it has done the last year, says Head of National Accounts in Statistics Norway, Pål Sletten.

Since certain National Accounts figures can vary a lot, one should not emphasize the development of one single month. Assessing several months in context can give a better impression of the underlying development in the economy. The rolling three-month growth for GDP Mainland Norway was 0.2 percent from August-October to November-January.

Mixed Picture Among Mainland Industries

Increased value added in wholesale and retail trade contributed the most to the monthly growth in January. The electricity industry also contributed, while fishing dampened growth. These are industries that can vary greatly from one month to the next. Without fishing and the electricity industries, the growth in GDP Mainland Norway in January would have been 0.3 per cent.

Apart from the growth in wholesale and retail trade, the total development was among service industries. Administrative and support service activities and accommodation and food service activities increased, but there was a decline in professional, scientific and technical activities.

In total, manufacturing industries had a flat development, while there was a decline in mining. Construction, which declined almost continuously throughout last year, increased in January.

Sharp Drop in Household Car Purchases

Household consumption decreased 0.4 per cent from December to January. There was a decrease in consumption of goods, while consumption of services had a flat development. The rolling three-month growth for total consumption was 0.5 per cent.

The decrease in goods consumption was due to a drop in household car purchases. The drop is connected to a low order intake in 2023, which was also a year of unusually low car purchases. Excluding car purchases there was practically no growth in goods consumption in January.

– An unusual number of people bought cars during the corona pandemic and at the end of 2022. In addition, car purchases are easier to postpone than many other consumer goods now that the cost of living is high. Both factors likely contribute to the fact that car purchases are low, says Pål Sletten.

Investments in dwellings fell sharply in 2023, and the decline continued in January, with a decrease of 0.5 per cent. The three-month decline was 4.6 per cent.

Greater Uncertainty in Monthly Figures than Normal

Because December is a month with many days off, and because of a lot of Christmas shopping, there is usually greater variance in certain National Accounts figures in December and January than in more normal months. This can lead to greater uncertainty about the underlying economy than in other periods.

In addition, there were particularly large fluctuations in households’ car purchases in December 2022 and January 2023. Unusual fluctuations like these are excluded when the seasonal pattern of the National Accounts figures is estimated. This contributes to uncertainty in the seasonal adjustment of consumption of goods and the wholesale and retail trade in December 2023 and January 2024.

Figure 1. Gross domestic product and household final consumption expenditures. Rolling three-month sum. Seasonally adjusted. Volume indices. 2019=100

Figure 2. Gross domestic product and household final consumption expenditures. Monthly. Seasonally adjusted. Volume indices. 2019=100


In connection with new monthly and quarterly figures, retroactive revisions will occur. New information is occasionally incorporated in the calculation of selected national accounts figures. In addition, the seasonal pattern will change as new periods are added.

In certain areas there is incorporated new base statistics for earlier months, and the growth in GDP Mainland Norway is revised down 0.1 per cent in December 2023 from the last publication. The growth in January 2023 is revised down 0.3 per cent because of changes in the seasonal pattern. In other months the revisions are smaller.