Commenting on today’s GDP figures for July, ONS director of economic statistics Darren Morgan said:
“While it has continued steadily on the path towards recovery, the UK economy still has to make up nearly half of the GDP lost since the start of the pandemic.
“Education grew strongly as some children returned to school, while pubs, campsites and hairdressers all saw notable improvements. Car sales exceeded pre-crisis levels for the first time with showrooms having a particularly busy time.
“All areas of manufacturing, particularly distillers and car makers, saw improvements, while housebuilding also continued to recover. However, both production and construction remain well below previous levels.”
Monthly gross domestic product (GDP) grew by 6.6% in July 2020 as lockdown measures continued to ease, following growth of 8.7% in June and 2.4% in May and a record fall of 20.0% in April 2020.
July 2020 GDP is now 18.6% higher than its April 2020 low. However, it remains 11.7% below the levels seen in February 2020, before the full impact of the coronavirus pandemic. For more detail on the monthly data, please refer to Section 3.Back to table of contents
Figure 2: GDP fell by 7.6% in the three months to July, following two consecutive quarterly falls
UK gross domestic product (GDP) growth, Quarter 1 (Jan to Mar) 2005 until May to July 2020
- Q1 refers to Quarter 1 (Jan to Mar), Q2 refers to Quarter 2 (Apr to June), Q3 refers to Quarter 3 (July to Sep), Q4 refers to Quarter 4 (Oct to Dec).
- Rolling three-month estimates are calculated by comparing gross domestic product (GDP) in a three-month period with GDP in the previous three-month period. For example, GDP May to July compared with the previous February to April.
Download the data
Gross domestic product (GDP) fell by 7.6% in the three months to July 2020 following two consecutive quarterly falls, as government restrictions on movement dramatically reduced economic activity.
Rolling three-month growth is based on output gross value added (GVA). There will therefore be discrepancies in the time series with our quarterly estimates of GDP, which include information on the expenditure and income approaches to measuring GDP.Back to table of contents
Monthly gross domestic product (GDP) grew by 6.6% in July 2020, following growth of 8.7% in June 2020. Despite this, the level of output did not fully recover from the record falls seen across March and April 2020 and was still 11.7% below the levels seen in February 2020, before the full impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Looking ahead, results from Wave 12 of the Business Impact of COVID-19 Survey (BICS), which covered the dates 10 to 23 August 2020, found that of businesses currently trading, 47% reported their turnover had decreased below what is normally expected for August.
|Change in GDP|
to July 2020)
|Index of Services||0.0%||-7.5%||-18.5%||1.5%||7.7%||6.1%||-12.6%||-8.1%|
|Index of Production||0.4%||-4.3%||-20.4%||6.2%||9.3%||5.2%||-7.0%||-3.5%|
Download this table Table 1: Breakdown of GDP and its components’ growth rates by month.xls .csv
The monthly growth rate for GDP is volatile. It should therefore be used with caution and alongside other measures, such as the three-month growth rate, when looking for an indicator of the longer-term trend of the economy. However, it is useful in highlighting one-off changes that can be masked by three-month growth rates.Back to table of contents
This release captures the direct effects of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and the government measures taken to reduce transmission of the virus. We have faced an increased number of challenges in producing monthly and quarterly estimates of UK gross domestic product (GDP) for June. More detailed information on the challenges and the steps taken to mitigate those can be found in Coronavirus and the effects on UK GDP.
As a result of these challenges, GDP estimates for July 2020 are subject to more uncertainty than usual.
It is important to note that while in the short run we have faced challenges to collect the information required to produce the Monthly Business Survey (MBS), response rates have improved since the first published estimate, as shown in Table 2.
|May MBS response rates|
|First March estimate||Current estimate|
|Index of Services||79.0%||94.1%|
|Index of Production||71.7%||94.7%|
|May MBS response rates|
|First April estimate||Current estimate|
|Index of Services||84.4%||93.1%|
|Index of Production||79.8%||94.3%|
|May MBS response rates|
|First May estimate||Current Estimate|
|Index of Services||86.4%||92.5%|
|Index of Production||88.4%||93.6%|
|June MBS response rates|
|First June estimate||Current Estimate|
|Index of Services||75.2%||88.1%|
|Index of Production||75.3%||88.5%|
|July MBS response rates|
|First June estimate|
|Index of Services||77.9%|
|Index of Production||81.0%|
Download this table Table 2: Breakdown of components response rates for Monthly Business Survey (MBS).xls .csv
- Table shows Monthly Business Survey (MBS) turnover response rates.
- Response rate for all months, both questionnaire and turnover, can be found in Index of Production, Index of Services, and Construction.
Construction response rates for March are lower than usual as the MBS was collected by paper before moving online in April. For more information, please refer to the Construction release.
Communicating gross domestic product
Recent analysis explains our latest position on how we are looking to communicate GDP, including how we will continue to acknowledge that “technical” recessions are comprised of at least two consecutive quarters of contracting GDP.
While it is still true that these early estimates are prone to revision, we prefer to focus on the magnitude of the contraction that has taken place following the coronavirus pandemic. It is clear that the contraction in GDP in Quarter 2 (Apr to June) was in the largest recession on record. Our latest estimates show that the UK economy was 11.7% smaller in July than it was in February, the effects of which have been most pronounced in those industries that are most exposed to public health restrictions and the effects of social distancing.
Blue Book 2020
Each year, we produce an annual update to the UK National Accounts in the Blue Book and Pink Book and the associated releases. As already announced, the Blue Book and Pink Book 2020 consistent datasets will be published on 30 September 2020 as part of the quarterly national accounts.
Details have already been provided on the scope in the article Latest developments and changes to be implemented in Blue Book and Pink Book 2020. Indicative impacts on headline GDP components for the years 1997 to 2018 were published on 20 July 2020 in the article Impact of Blue Book 2020 changes on current price and volume estimates of gross domestic product.
The next monthly publication on 9 October 2020 will incorporate revisions consistent with Blue Book 2020, where the reference year and last base year for all chained volume measure series will be updated to 2018.Back to table of contents
Contact details for this Statistical bulletin
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