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UK economic bounceback falls short of V shaped recovery hope

UK Economic Bounce Back Falls Short of V-Shaped Recovery Hope

LONDON – The British economy grew much slower than expected during May, lowering hopes that the recovery from what is expected to be one of the country’s deepest recessions in centuries will be rapid.
The Office for National Statistics said Tuesday that the economy grew 1.8% in May from the previous month, after some relief from the blockade. Such as encouraging those who work in construction or manufacturing to return to work. Online record sales also fueled the crucial retail sector.
“However, with the closure restrictions in place, many other services remained in the crisis, with several areas experiencing further declines,” said Jonathan Athow, Deputy National Statistician for Economic Statistics.
The increase recorded during May was below the 5% forecast in the financial markets and means that the economy is still 24.5% smaller than in February, before the full impact of the coronavirus.
In April alone, the economy contracted by a staggering 20.3%.
“The chances of a quick return to normality, of the famous V-shaped recovery, are diminishing,” said Ian Stewart, chief economist at Deloitte.
“It is likely to take years, not months, to repair the damage to the economy caused by COVID-19.”
Most economists think the recovery will pick up the pace during the summer when the blocking restrictions eased. Stores selling non-essential items such as books and shoes reopened in June, followed in early July by the reopening of much of the hospitality sector, including pubs and restaurants.
But with people still fearful of contracting COVID-19, the social distancing rules that remain in place, and many workers concerned about losing their jobs, the economy is not expected to regain lost ground due to the coronavirus in the coming months.
According to the Office of Budgetary Responsibility, the country’s independent budgetary watchdog, the UK economy could shrink by 14.3% in 2020 and, in the worst case, it will not recoup the loss of production in recent months until the third quarter of 2024.
He said the country is “on track to post the biggest decline in annual GDP for 300 years,” with output set to drop 10.6% this year, even in its most optimistic outlook.
Unemployment is expected to rise sharply in the coming months as the government withdraws some of its emergency support.
The number of companies cutting jobs has accelerated in the past two weeks, and Airbus and Rolls Royce, among many, announced significant job cuts.
Many economists think that unemployment could more than double to more than 3 million this year, levels last seen in the 1980s.
So far, Britain has been spared the sharp increases in unemployment seen in the United States, for example, due to the Job Retention Plan, for which the government has been paying most of the workers’ wages. They have not been fired. Some 1.2 million employers have taken advantage of the program to provide 9.4 million people at a cost to the government of £28.7 billion ($36 billion).
Britain’s Treasury chief, Rishi Sunak, said the latest growth figures “underscore the magnitude of the challenge” that lies ahead.
“I know that people are concerned about the security of their jobs and income,” she said.
Last week, Sunak announced a new bonus plan aimed at getting companies to retain workers who have been inactive for months under the licensing scheme.
Frances O’Grady, Secretary-General of the General Congress of Trade Unions, said mass unemployment is the “biggest threat” facing the UK and urged Sunak to announce specific support for the most affected sectors such as retail, manufacturing and aviation.
(Sahar News Monitoring Desk)

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