The UK has plunged into its “largest recession on record” after a 20.4% drop in gross domestic product (GDP) during lockdown, the country’s Office for National Statistics has said.
Publishing its findings on Wednesday, the body said the sharp fall was seen during the second quarter of the year from April to June – during the height of stay-at-home measures to control the spread of COVID-19.
This could be compared to the 2.2% drop in GDP from the first quarter in January to March.
In June, there was a rise of 8.7% as lockdown was eased and focus returned to restarting the economy – but this was still 17.2% lower than levels seen in February.
Statistician Jonathan Athow said the June “bounce back” could be attributed to the reopening of industries as the virus outbreak was brought under control.
He said: “The economy began to bounce back in June with shops reopening, factories beginning to ramp up production and house-building continuing to recover.”
The British government now hopes this trend will continue for July after restarting the hospitality sector, and the reopening of gyms.
Wednesday’s data was released just a day after ONS revealed that employment had also fallen 220,000 in the second quarter, marking the biggest three-month decline since the financial crash.
Since March, around 730,000 have been taken off the payroll with the decline greatest among younger and older workers, along with those in lower-skilled jobs.