ECONOMIC CRISIS: Like its European neighbours, the economy of the United Kingdom has been hit hard by the coronavirus epidemic
The country had never experienced such an economic downturn. Like its European neighbours, the United Kingdom saw its economy suffer a “record” contraction of 20.4% in the second quarter, hit by the coronavirus crisis. Officially faced with its worst recession on record, the island saw its production collapse by 20% in April during confinement which led to almost total halt inactivity.
With a very early recovery in construction sites and manufacturing activity, gross domestic product (GDP) rebounded in May by 2.4% (revised figure), followed by an acceleration in June (+8.7 %) thanks in particular to the reopening of all shops, specifies the ONS, the National Statistics Office.
The historical magnitude of this recession reflects “restrictions” on travel and activity that have taken place since the entry into force of containment in the country on March 23.
The statistics body notes that, over the two-quarters of recession, the British economy contracted by 22.1%, “a little less than the 22.7% observed in Spain but more than double the fall of GDP of 10.6% in the United States ”over the same period. For the ONS, this “larger contraction” in the United Kingdom than in most European countries reflects the longer duration of containment measures.
“I have said before that hard times await us, today’s figures confirm it. Hundreds of thousands of people have already lost their jobs, and unfortunately, in the coming months, many more will do the same, ”commented Finance Minister Rishi Sunak.
The United Kingdom posted the worst performance in the second quarter in Europe, ahead of Spain (-18.5%) and much worse than France (-13.8%).