UK economy shrank by almost a fifth under lockdown

The UK economy shrank by 19.1% in the three months to the end of May as the country struggled under the coronavirus (COVID-19) lockdown, according to the latest data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

The economy began to bounce back in May, growing by 1.8% as lockdown restrictions began to ease. However, a record drop of 20.4% in April, which was preceded by a 6.9% fall in March, meant the economy shrank during the quarter.

Although the economy rebounded in May, the growth rate expansion was less than the 5% or so that economists predicted. The data came as sectors such as manufacturing, construction, DIY retailers and garden centres were allowed to reopen.

The manufacturing and construction sectors both grew by more than 8% during the month.

Commenting on the data, Jonathan Athow, Deputy National Statistician for Economic Statistics at the ONS, said: 'The economy was still a quarter smaller in May than in February, before the full effects of the pandemic struck.

'In the important services sector, we saw some pick-up in retail, which saw record online sales. However, with lockdown restrictions remaining in place, many other services remained in the doldrums, with a number of areas seeing further declines.'

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