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The COVID-19 outbreak and subsequent lockdown has caused the UK’s first recession in 11 years, and the worst three-month period “since quarterly records began”.

This is according to new data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) this morning, officially confirming that the UK economy is in recession.

The economy fell by 20.4% during Q2 between April to June, when the country was in lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic, compared with the three months from January to March in Q1, which fell by 2.2%.


This is the biggest quarterly decline since comparable records began in 1955. It also reported that no other G7 nation has seen its GDP take such a devastating hit during Q2.

These figures go up to the end of June only, with many non-essential businesses in England only allowed to reopen from 15 June, and many choosing not to even then.

The data reflected this reopening, with June looking slightly more positive than the rest of Q2.

The ONS also showed GDP contractions by percentage during other times of economic crisis.

Quarterly declines during events such as the miners’ strikes of 1974 (-2.7%), the 1958 economic downturn (-2.4%) and the 2008-2009 recession (-2.0%) paled in comparison compared to the -20.4% hit GDP has taken during Q2 of 2020.

ONS deputy national statistical for economic statistics, Jonathan Athow, said: “The recession brought on by the coronavirus pandemic has led to the biggest fall in quarterly GDP on record.

“The economy began to bounce back in June with shops reopening, factories beginning to ramp up production and housebuilding continuing to recover. Despite this, GDP in June still remains a sixth below its level in February, before the virus struck.

“Overall, productivity saw its largest fall in the second quarter since the three-day week. Hospitality was worst hit, with productivity in that industry falling by three quarters in recent months.”

This comes only a day after ONS reported that unemployment was at its worst level since the 2008-2009 recession. Read more below:

UK employment drops to lowest figure in over a decade