UK gross domestic product (GDP) is estimated to have grown by 2.3% in April 2021, the fastest monthly growth since July 2020, as government restrictions affecting economic activity continued to ease. The service sector grew by 3.4% in April 2021, with consumer-facing services re-opening in line with the easing of coronavirus restrictions and more pupils returning to onsite lessons. April’s GDP remains 3.7% below the pre-pandemic levels seen in February 2020, however it is now 1.2% above its initial recovery peak in October 2020.
The latest Office for National statistics Economic activity and social change report, Economic activity and social change in the UK, real-time indicators – Office for National Statistics (ons.gov.uk) shows that:
- In the week to Monday 31 May 2021, the seven-day average estimate of UK seated diners was at 173% of its level in the same week of 2019, an increase of 41 percentage points from the previous week; this follows the reopening of indoor dining across all four home nations in May and continues the rebound in seated diner estimates observed since the first reopening of pubs and restaurants in April.
- The percentage of businesses currently trading has increased to 87% in late May (17 to 30 May 2021), the highest proportion since comparable estimates began in June 2020, with a further 3% of businesses intending to restart trading in the next two weeks.
- In the week to 29 May 2021, UK retail footfall saw a weekly increase of 7% and was at 73% of its level in the equivalent week of 2019; footfall at retail parks remained strongest as a proportion of its level in the same week of 2019 when compared with other retail locations at 92%, whereas the equivalent figures for shopping centres and high streets were 68% and 67%, respectively.
Clearly economic activity is increasing, and we are on the ‘bounce back’ despite delays to further reopening of the economy due to the concern over new variants of the virus.
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