Publication - Research and analysis
State of the economy: April 2020
Report summarising recent developments in the global, UK and Scottish economies with an analysis of the performance of, and outlook for, the Scottish economy.
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Business activity falls at sharpest recorded rate in March.
- Scotland PMI business survey for March reported that private sector business activity in Scotland declined at the quickest rate since the survey began in January 1998.
- The contraction in business activity was sharpest in the service sector, however the manufacturing sector also saw it sharpest fall in output since 2009.
- The Fraser of Allander Institute Business Monitor reported that 89% of Scottish businesses state that their turnover has been impacted since the beginning of March due to COVID-19.
- It also reported that 54% of firms said they could survive under current levels of trading for 'less than three months' while a further 32% said they could survive for 'four to six months'.
Business surveys signal falls in staff levels in March.
- Over the past few years, Scotland has had near historic high levels of employment and low unemployment.
- Latest PMI business survey data for March signal that private sector staffing levels fell at their sharpest rate since 2009.
- The Scottish Jobs business survey for March reported the steepest decline in permanent staff appointments since April 2009, while temporary billings fell at the quickest pace on record.
- Universal Credit (UC) claims (out of work/low income benefit) rose sharply in March and April. Over the two week period to 7 April, new claims for UC increased by around 61,000 in Scotland.
Scotland's GDP could fall by 33%.
- Scottish Government analysis shows that GDP could fall by around 33% during the current period of social distancing.
- The fall in output could be spread over March and April (that is over both Q1 and Q2).
- The estimates at a Scottish level are similar to those by the OECD and OBR.
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