Publication - Research and analysis

State of the economy: April 2020

Published: 21 Apr 2020
From:
Gary Gillespie
Directorate:
Chief Economist Directorate
Part of:
Coronavirus in Scotland, Economy
ISBN:
9781839607035

Report summarising recent developments in the global, UK and Scottish economies with an analysis of the performance of, and outlook for, the Scottish economy.

State of the economy: April 2020
United Kingdom Summary

United Kingdom Summary

  • The UK economy grew marginally in the 3-months to February (having not grown in Q4 2019), prior to the COVID-19 outbreak fully impacting. Industry data pointed to initial negative impacts on sectors exposed to international tourism and supply chains as COVID-19 started to across continents.

Business activity fell to its lowest level since 1998 in March.

  • UK PMI business survey data for March showed a significant contraction in UK business activity as firms faced a collapse in demand and the introduction of social distancing measures.
  • The contraction was sharpest in the services sectors, likely reflecting the most immediate falls in demand for tourism, leisure and hospitality.
  • The manufacturing sector was also impacted with output falling at its fastest rate since 2012 and firms reported a significant deterioration in their supply chains.
  • Construction output fell at its fastest rate since 2009 with the largest falls in civil engineering and commercial building.

Job security and household finances impacted in March.

  • UK PMI business surveys for March reported the fastest falls in staffing levels across the services, manufacturing and construction sectors since 2009-10.
  • UK consumer confidence fell to its lowest level since 1974 in March, with respondents signalling a significant deterioration in confidence about their financial situation (GfK Survey).
  • Universal Credit (UC) claims (out of work/low income benefit) rose sharply in March. Over the two week period to 7 April, new claims for UC increased by around 767,000 in the UK.

GDP expected to contract sharply in 2020.

  • OBR analysis suggests a fall in UK output of 35% is possible in Q2 2020, if 'lockdown' measures remain in place until June, with a 13% contraction over 2020 as a whole.
  • The IMF projects UK GDP to contract by 6.5% in 2020 and to partially recover to 4% growth in 2021.
UK Purchasing Managers’ Index
UK Purchasing Managers’ Index
UK Manufacturing: Supply Chains
UK Manufacturing: Supply Chains
UK Purchasing Managers’ Index: Employment
UK Purchasing Managers’ Index: Employment
UK New Universal Credit Claims, Daily
UK New Universal Credit Claims, Daily

Contact

Email: OCEABusiness@gov.scot