A billboard with official UK Government Coronavirus Test and Trace advice.
Mike Kemp | In pictures via Getty Images
The UK economy contracted 20.4% in the second quarter of 2020 compared to the previous three months as coronavirus lockdowns weighed on activity. This emerges from preliminary figures released on Wednesday.
GDP (Gross Domestic Product) rose 8.7% in June as government lockdowns eased after rebounding gently by 1.8% in May after falling 20.4% in April.
The slump in the second quarter is the worst in history, following a 2.2% decline in the first quarter. According to a survey by Reuters, analysts had expected a decline of 20.5%. Two consecutive periods of contraction mean that the UK economy is currently in a technical recession.
Services, construction and manufacturing saw record quarterly declines, particularly in the sectors most exposed to government restrictions, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).
"The economy recovered in June and stores reopened. Factories started to pick up production and housing construction continued to recover," said Jonathan Athow, national assistant statistician for ONS.
"Even so, GDP in June is still one-sixth below its February level before the virus hit."
In terms of levels, real GDP was last lower in the second quarter of 2003, while the UK economy fell 21.7% compared to the second quarter of 2019.
The ONS found that its estimates are subject to greater uncertainty than usual due to the difficulties in collecting data due to public health restrictions.