This page contains data and analysis published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) from 14 to 18 September 2020. Go to our live page for the most up-to-date insights on COVID-19.

18 September 2020

Retail sales up 4.0% compared with pre-pandemic levels

Retail sales volumes (the amount of goods bought) continued to increase in August 2020, with levels up 0.8% compared with July and up 4.0% compared with February’s pre-pandemic level. Retail sales values (the amount spent) were also up in August, increasing 0.7% on July and 2.5% compared with February.

When compared with the previous three months, a stronger rate of growth was seen in the three months to August, at 16.4% and 16.7% for value and volume sales respectively. Strong growth was seen here because of large monthly increases in June and July when compared with the sharp falls experienced over lockdown in March and April.

Despite total levels of retail sales increasing to above pre-pandemic levels, there was a mixed picture within each sector as not all stores experienced this bounce back: non-store retailing volumes were 38.9% higher than in February, and sales volumes in household goods stores up 9.9% in the same time frame, mainly because of increased sales for home improvement items.

In contrast, all non-food stores experienced a sharp decline in sales due to lockdown, and clothing stores’ August retailing volumes were still 15.9% below pre-pandemic levels. Online sales values decreased 2.5% from July. This slight decline may be because of many businesses reopening from July, resulting in less online spending in August. Other parts of the economy reopened, such as restaurants and bars, which may have impacted sales within food stores as online sales fell by 4.6% in August.

However, the strong growth experienced over the pandemic has meant that online sales were still 46.8% higher than February’s pre-pandemic levels.

18 September 2020

Deaths involving COVID-19 by disability status

Disabled people (those limited a little and those limited a lot in their day-to-day activities by a long-term health problem or disability) aged nine years and over made up almost 6 out of 10 COVID-19 deaths in England and Wales between 2 March and 14 July 2020. Amongst COVID-19 related deaths of females aged 65 years and over, the proportion made up by disabled people was largest, accounting for 67% of the total.

Our analysis shows that males and females aged 9 years and over who were disabled had higher age-standardised mortality rates (ASMR) than those who were non-disabled.

Males who were disabled and limited a lot in their day-to-day activities had an overall age-standardised COVID-19 mortality rate of 240.8 deaths per 100,000 (non-disabled: 84.2 deaths per 100,000). Females who were disabled had an age-standardised COVID-19 mortality rate of 169.9 deaths per 100,000 (non-disabled: 44.4 deaths per 100,000).

The relative gaps in ASMRs between disabled and non-disabled males and females were largest amongst those aged 9 to 64 years. Mortality rates for those aged 9 to 64 years who were disabled and limited a lot in their day-to-day activities were 10.8 times greater for females and 6.5 times greater for males, than for non-disabled people in the same age and sex group.

Adjusting for age, socio-demographic, geographic and household characteristics reduced the relative difference in mortality rates between the disabled and non-disabled. The relative difference in mortality rates between those who were disabled and limited a lot in their day-to-day activities and those non-disabled was 2.4 times higher for females and 2.0 times higher for males.

Males aged 65 years and over who were disabled and limited a lot had the highest age-standardised COVID-19 mortality rate at 860.8 per 100,000

Age-standardised mortality rates for deaths involving COVID-19, by sex, age group and disability status, England and Wales, 2 March to 14 July 2020

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  1. Office for National Statistics (ONS) figures based on death registrations up to 21 July 2020 that occurred between 2 March and 14 July 2020 that could be linked to the 2011 Census for the coronavirus (COVID-19) rate of death.
  2. Deaths were defined using the International Classification of Diseases, 10th Revision (ICD-10). Deaths involving COVID-19 include those with an underlying cause, or any mention, of ICD-10 codes U07.1 (COVID-19, virus identified) or U07.2 (COVID-19, virus not identified).
  3. Age-standardised mortality rates (ASMRs) of COVID-19-related death can be interpreted as deaths per 100,000 population during the period of investigation.
  4. Non-overlapping error bars denote a statistically significant difference in rates of death.
  5. Disability status was defined using the self-reported answers to the 2011 Census question; “Are your day-to-day activities limited because of a health problem or disability which has lasted, or is expected to last, at least 12 months? - Include problems related to old age” (Yes, limited a lot; Yes, limited a little; and No).

18 September 2020

Monthly mortality analysis August 2020

There were 34,750 deaths registered in England in August 2020, 2,060 deaths fewer than August’s five-year average; in Wales, 2,379 deaths were registered, 116 deaths fewer than the five-year average for August.

Our analysis of provisional death registration data in England and Wales in August 2020, shows that there were 34,750 deaths registered in England, 2,060 deaths fewer than August’s five-year average. In Wales, 2,379 deaths were registered, 116 deaths fewer than the five-year average for August.

The leading cause of death in England in August was dementia and Alzheimer’s disease (10.9% of all deaths) and ischaemic heart disease in Wales (11.0% of all deaths). Both leading causes were the same in July 2020.

Of the 34,750 deaths registered in August 2020 in England, 1.4% (482 deaths) involved the coronavirus (COVID-19). In Wales, 2.2% of the 2,379 deaths registered in August involved COVID-19 (52 deaths).

Age-standardised mortality rates (ASMRs) are used for comparisons over time rather than numbers of deaths, as ASMRs account for changes to the population size and age structure. Since August 2001, overall mortality rates in England for the month of August have been decreasing. In August 2020, the mortality rate for males was 869.3 deaths per 100,000 (compared with 1,378.5 in August 2001) and 641.8 deaths per 100,000 for females (compared with 920.3 in August 2001).

Mortality rates in Wales show a similar pattern over time. In August 2020 in Wales, the mortality rate was 937.2 deaths per 100,000 for males (1,379.4 in August 2001) and 746.4 deaths per 100,000 for females (982.8 in August 2001).

16 September 2020

Average house prices continued to rise in June 2020

The UK’s average house prices increased by 3.4%, to £238,000, over the year to June 2020, up from 1.1% in May 2020; this is £8,000 higher than last year.

Average house prices increased by 3.5% in England, 2.9% in Scotland and 2.8% in Wales over the year to June 2020. In Northern Ireland, average house prices increased by 3.0% over the year to Quarter 2 (Apr to June) 2020.

The accelerated increase may partly reflect the unusual conditions in the housing market during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. People were advised not to move house during the tightest movement restrictions in April and May. As such, property transactions completed during that time may have been more concentrated than usual among those without complicating factors, such as a chain. For example, first-time buyers – typically at the lower end of the price scale – may have been freer to complete transactions than former owner occupiers, who may have had to co-ordinate multiple sales during lockdown.

The increase in prices in June 2020 may therefore reflect some degree of pent-up demand following the easing of lockdown restrictions, particularly at the higher end of the price scale.

15 September 2020

UK labour market

Our latest figures on the UK labour market have now been published.

Early indicators for August 2020 suggest that the number of employees in the UK on payrolls was down around 695,000 compared with March 2020.

Figures for May to July 2020 show an increase in the unemployment rate; despite this increase and an increase in the number of redundancies, the employment rate was up and the economic inactivity rate has fallen.

Redundancies (the number of people who were made redundant or who took voluntary redundancy in the three months before the Labour Force Survey (LFS) interviews) increased by 58,000 on the year and 48,000 on the quarter to 156,000. While this is the highest level since September to November 2012, the level remained well below that seen during the 2008 downturn.

Over the quarter, there has been a large decrease in the number of young people (those aged 16 to 24 years) in employment while unemployment for young people has increased.

The number of people who are estimated to have been temporarily away from work (including furloughed workers) has fallen, but it was still more than 5 million in July 2020.

Total hours worked was still low but showed some signs of recovery in the three months to July 2020. Over the year, average actual weekly hours fell by 5.8 hours to 26.3 hours in the three months to July 2020. The accommodation and food service activities sector saw the biggest annual fall in average actual weekly hours, down by 15.4 hours to 13.5 hours per week.

Vacancies continued to show increases in the latest period, driven by the smaller businesses, some of which are reporting taking on additional staff to meet coronavirus (COVID-19) guidelines.

The Claimant Count, an Experimental Statistic, increased in August 2020, reaching 2.7 million. This includes both those who are working with low income or hours and those who are not working.


  • Labour market overview, UK

    Estimates of employment, unemployment, economic inactivity and other employment-related statistics for the UK.

  • UK House Price Index

    Monthly house price inflation in the UK, calculated using data from HM Land Registry, Registers of Scotland, and Land and Property Services Northern Ireland.

  • Monthly mortality analysis, England and Wales

    Provisional death registration data for England and Wales, broken down by sex, age and country. Includes deaths due to coronavirus (COVID-19) and leading causes of death.

  • Updated estimates of coronavirus (COVID-19) related deaths by disability status, England

    Estimates of differences in coronavirus (COVID-19) mortality risk by self-reported disability status for deaths occurring up to 9 March 2022, using linked data from the Office for National Statistics’ Public Health Data Asset.

  • Retail sales, Great Britain

    A first estimate of retail sales in volume and value terms, seasonally and non-seasonally adjusted.