latest indicators for the UK economy
Coronavirus and the latest indicators for the UK economy and society
- Sep 04, 2020

Source: Office for National Statistics – Business Impact of Coronavirus (COVID-19) Survey

Early experimental data on the impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) on the UK economy and society. These faster indicators are created using rapid response surveys, novel data sources and experimental methods.

This is the latest release by the Office of National Statistics.

 

Main points

  • Over half (54%) of businesses that had not permanently ceased trading said they were owed outstanding invoice payments as a result of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, according to the latest Business Impact of Coronavirus (COVID-19) Survey (BICS).
  • There was a continuing trend of reduced home working according to the latest Opinions and Lifestyle Survey (OPN), with 20% of working adults exclusively working from home.
  • In the week starting Saturday 22 August, company incorporations fell to 3,066 per working day, which remains above the Quarter 3 2019 (July to Sept) average (2,612), according to data from Companies House.
  • Between 21 and 28 August, total online job adverts remained around 55% of their 2019 average for a fourth consecutive week. See Section 5.
  • In the week commencing 24 August, Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) lodgements across England and Wales for existing and new dwellings were 31% and 38% higher respectively than the same week a year ago.
  • In the week commencing 24 August, overall footfall increased to over three-quarters of its value the same day a year ago for the first time since lockdown began. See Section 7.
  • Between 24 and 30 August, counts of cars, pedestrians and cyclists in London and the North East returned to around the levels seen immediately pre-lockdown, but are still lower than when the series began in early March.
  • On Sunday 30 August, all motor vehicle traffic was five percentage points higher than traffic seen on the equivalent Sunday in the first week of February, influenced by the bank holiday weekend. See Section 9.
  • Between 24 and 30 August, the average number of daily ship visits was 324 compared with 377 in the week before lockdown (16 to 22 March). See Section 10.

 

The Business Impact of COVID-19 Survey (BICS) is voluntary and currently unweighted, so it may only reflect the characteristics of those who responded. Results presented are experimental. The online price change for high-demand products (HDPs) has been ceased and will therefore no longer be included.

 

Business impact of the coronavirus

This section includes initial results from Wave 12 of the Business Impact of Coronavirus (COVID-19) Survey (BICS) for the period 10 August to 23 August 2020, which closes on 6 September 2020. Of 23,904 businesses sampled, 15% had responded as of 1 September.

Figure 1: 11% of the workforce remain on furlough leave, with 62% of furloughed employees receiving top ups to their pay

Headline indicators from the Business Impact of Coronavirus (COVID-19) Survey, UK, 10 to 23 August 2020

latest indicators for the UK economy

Source: Office for National Statistics – Business Impact of Coronavirus (COVID-19) Survey

 

Notes:

All percentages are a proportion of the number of businesses that responded apart from the workforce percentages on furlough leave and receiving pay top-ups, which are proportions of employees for each responding business.

Of all responding businesses:

  • 94% had been trading for more than the last two weeks
  • 1% had started trading again within the last two weeks after a pause in trading
  • 1% had paused trading but intend to restart trading in the next two weeks
  • 3% had paused trading and do not intend to restart in the next two weeks
  • less than 1% had permanently ceased trading

Of businesses that had not permanently ceased trading, over half (54%) said that they were owed outstanding invoice payments as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. Further, 1 in 10 also said that they were at a moderate or severe risk of insolvency, at 9% and 1% respectively. 48% said they were at a low risk of insolvency, 31% said they had no risk, while 11% were not sure.

Table 1 shows the financial performance of businesses currently trading.

 

Table 1: Just under half (47%) of currently trading businesses reported that their turnover had decreased below what is normally expected for this time of year
Percentage of businesses currently trading, UK, 10 to 23 August 2020
Turnover has increased by more than 50% 1%
Turnover has increased between 20% and 50% 4%
Turnover has increased by up to 20% 9%
Turnover has not been affected 34%
Turnover has decreased by up to 20% 22%
Turnover has decreased between 20% and 50% 16%
Turnover has decreased by more than 50% 9%
Not sure 6%

 

Source: Office for National Statistics – Business Impact of Coronavirus (COVID-19) Survey

 

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