LONDON — Britain is officially in a recession for the first time in over a decade, figures released by the Office for National Statistics confirmed Wednesday, highlighting just how badly the country has been impacted by the global health crisis and months of stringent lockdown measures.
The British economy shrank by 20.4 percent between the months of April and June, compared to the first three months of the year. The dip is the biggest slump since ONS records began in 1955 and follows a 2.2 percent contraction in the first quarter of the year.
A recession is declared following a decline in gross domestic product over two successive quarters, with Britain last experiencing one in 2008 during the global financial crisis.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson ordered a nationwide lockdown in March, forcing restaurants, shops and factories to close as millions of workers across the country were furloughed. At least 730,000 people have lost their jobs in Britain amid the pandemic.
Germany, the United States, France and Italy have all seen economic slumps but have so far fared better than Britain.
“The recession brought on by the coronavirus pandemic has led to the biggest fall in quarterly GDP on record,” Jonathan Athow, deputy national statistician at the ONS, said. The hospitality sector was the worst-hit along with construction and manufacturing which all suffered record quarterly falls.
Figures show that the economy began to recover in June as the country began reopening and attempting to rebuild, with GDP growing by 8.7 percent, though it was still below its level in February, before the pandemic hit.