Coronavirus and the latest indicators for the UK economy and society: 11 June 2020

Early experimental data on the impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) on the UK economy and society. These faster indicators are created using rapid response surveys, novel data sources and experimental methods.

This is not the latest release. View latest release

Cyswllt:
Email Chloe Gibbs

Dyddiad y datganiad:
11 June 2020

Cyhoeddiad nesaf:
18 June 2020

1. Main points

  • Of businesses in the UK continuing to trade, and who sell goods or services online, 32% responded that online sales have increased.
  • Over half of adults (53%) in Great Britain had visited a park or public green space between 4 and 7 June, an increase compared with previous weeks.
  • The volume of job adverts in catering and hospitality between 29 May and 5 June 2020 declined to a record low of 18.1% of its 2019 level.
  • Overall, prices of items in the high-demand products (HDP) basket remained stable between the week ending 31 May 2020 and the week ending 7 June 2020.
  • There has been a small increase in the number of new Value Added Tax (VAT) reporters between April 2020 and May 2020, from 15,250 to 16,460, which is related to the number of firm births; however, the number of new reporters in May 2020 is still below the 2015 to 2019 five-year average of 20,866.
  • There was an average of 319 daily ship visits during the period 1 June to 7 June 2020, a slight fall compared with the previous week.
  • Following peaks on 27 March and 6 April 2020, new declarations for Universal Credit and new claim advances have both gradually declined in the period to 2 June 2020 and are returning to levels seen in the middle of March.

!

Online price change analysis is experimental and should not be compared with our regular consumer price statistics. The Business Impact of COVID-19 Survey (BICS) is voluntary and currently unweighted, so it may only reflect the characteristics of those who responded. Results presented are experimental.

Nôl i'r tabl cynnwys

2. Indicators included in this release

This bulletin contains:

We will add new experimental data and indices as and when new data become available and list them in this section.

This release does not contain data on the number of deaths involving the coronavirus (COVID-19). Our weekly deaths bulletin and accompanying dataset provides the most up-to-date figures on deaths involving COVID-19 in England and Wales.

More about coronavirus

  • Find the latest on coronavirus (COVID-19) in the UK.
  • All ONS analysis, summarised in our coronavirus roundup.
  • View all coronavirus data.
  • Find out how we are working safely in our studies and surveys.

  • Nôl i'r tabl cynnwys

    3. Business impact of the coronavirus

    This section includes initial results from Wave 6 of the Business Impact of Coronavirus (COVID-19) Survey (BICS) for the period 18 May to 31 May 2020, which closes on 14 June 2020. Out of 20,548 businesses sampled, 28.9% had responded as of 9 June 2020.

    Figure 1: 81% of responding businesses had applied for the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, with 45% of responding businesses having less than six months of cash reserves

    Headline indicators from the Business Impact of Coronavirus Survey, UK, 18 May to 31 May 2020

    Embed code

    Notes:

    1. Initial results, Wave 6 of ONS Business Impact of Coronavirus (COVID-19) Survey. (Response rate = 29%)
    2. Businesses were asked for their experiences of furloughing staff for the reference period 18 May to 31 May 2020, but for questions regarding future expectations businesses may respond relative to the point of completing their questionnaire (responses collected 1 June to 9 June 2020).
    3. All percentages are a proportion of the number of businesses who responded apart from the percentages on furlough leave which are a proportion of the workforce apportioned by workforce size.

    Download the data

    Figure 1 shows that almost a half of businesses in the UK continuing to trade had less than six months of cash reserves (42%), while for businesses who had temporarily closed or paused trading this was 58%. Of businesses continuing to trade, 3% had no cash reserves, compared with 8% for businesses who had paused trading.

    The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme was the most common government scheme applied for, with 81% of all businesses applying. Of the workforce in businesses who have not permanently stopped trading, 30% had been furloughed. Of businesses who have not permanently stopped trading, 18% applied for business grants funded by the UK and devolved governments and the same percentage (18%) had applied for government-backed accredited loans or finance agreements; 17% had not applied for any scheme.

    Of all responding businesses, 78% had been trading for more than the last two weeks, while 5% had started trading again within the last two weeks after a pause in trading; 12% had paused trading and do not intend to restart in the next two weeks, while 5% had paused trading but intend to restart trading in the next two weeks.

    Of those responding businesses who had temporarily paused trading and who are intending to restart in the next two weeks, 27% of the workforce are expected to return from furlough and 3% are expected to return from remote working (note, businesses reporting they have paused trade may have had skeleton staff working during the temporary closure).

    Of businesses who have not permanently stopped trading, 98% reported having implemented or intending to implement some safety measures. Social distancing and hygiene measures were the two most common measures that businesses had implemented or are intending to implement when they start trading again, at 88% and 83% respectively.

    Nôl i'r tabl cynnwys

    4. Social impacts of the coronavirus on Great Britain

    This section includes some headline results from Wave 12 of the Opinions and Lifestyle Survey (OPN) covering the period 4 to 7 June 2020. The full results will be published in Coronavirus and the social impacts on Great Britain on 12 June 2020.

    Nôl i'r tabl cynnwys

    5. Online job adverts

    These figures use job adverts provided by Adzuna, an online job search engine. These estimates are experimental and will be developed over the coming weeks. The number of job adverts over time is an indicator of the demand for labour.

    Figure 5: Between 29 May and 5 June, total online job adverts increased marginally from 45.1% to 45.6% of its 2019 average

    Total weekly job adverts on Adzuna, UK, 4 January 2019 to 5 June 2020: index 2019 average = 100

    Embed code

    Notes:

    1. The observations were collected on a roughly weekly basis; however, they were not all observed at the same point in each week, leading to slightly irregular gaps between each observation.
    2. These series have a small number of missing weeks, mostly in late 2019, and the latest is in January 2020. These values have been imputed using linear interpolation. The data points that have been imputed are clearly marked in the accompanying dataset.
    3. The figure for total adverts in Education on 21 March 2019 was anomalous and has been replaced with an imputed value.
    4. The categories presented here were selected due to user interest and because they more closely track trends in Office for National Statistics (ONS) vacancies data. Further category breakdowns are included in the Online job advert estimates dataset, and more details on the methodology can be found in Using Adzuna data to derive an indicator of weekly vacancies.

    Download the data

    Between 29 May and 5 June 2020, total online job adverts across all industries have increased marginally from 45.1% to 45.6% of their 2019 average. This is the third consecutive week of a small but continued increase from mid-May. However, the volume of job adverts in catering and hospitality has declined further to a record low of 18.1% of its 2019 level, and the category of education has also seen a notable decline in the volume of online job adverts.

    From the start of March to the start of May 2020, total job adverts drastically decreased, reaching a low of 41.8% of its 2019 average on 1 May 2020. Over the same period, the categories of catering and hospitality, and wholesale and retail, both saw particularly large declines, each reaching a lowest value below 25% of their 2019 average values. In contrast, the volume of job adverts in education, and health and social care each saw a smaller decline from the beginning of March.

    The Institute for Employment Studies are also using Adzuna data to produce weekly vacancy indicators, and more granular breakdowns of these data can be found in their release.

    Nôl i'r tabl cynnwys

    6. Online price change for high-demand products (HDPs)

    A timely indication of weekly price change for high-demand products (HDPs) has been developed, covering the period 16 March to 7 June 2020. This analysis is experimental and should not be compared with our regular consumer price statistics.

    As experimental indices, these data are subject to revisions as we develop our methodology and systems. A timeline of developments for these indicators can be found in Online price changes of high-demand products methodology.

    Figure 6 shows that overall the online prices of items in the HDP basket have remained unchanged between Week 11 (25 to 31 May 2020) and Week 12 (1 to 7 June 2020). The price changes of certain individual items were large this week relative to changes seen in the previous few weeks, with the price of vitamin C decreasing by 2.2% and nappies increasing by 5.1%.

    Figure 7 shows large price falls had been reported for nappies up to Week 10 (18 to 25 May) as a number of products were on offer throughout April and May. Prices have increased considerably between Weeks 10 and 12, as promotional offers have come to an end, resulting in nappies showing an overall price increase of 1.2% compared with Week 1.

    Nôl i'r tabl cynnwys

    7. Value Added Tax (VAT) returns

    Turnover diffusion indices track the proportion of firms reporting an increase or decrease in their turnover in their Value Added Tax (VAT) returns. In Figure 8 the VAT indices are colour-coded based on their standard deviation from the mean across the time series. Larger deviations are more darkly coloured, with red representing negative change, and teal positive change, when compared with the previous period.

    Monthly turnover diffusion indices for other industries and the all-industries measure, containing approximately 40,000 firms, are available up to April 2020 in this release.

    May 2020 estimates of Retail sales in Great Britain will be published on 19 June 2020.

    The monthly estimate of GDP for April 2020 will be published tomorrow on 12 June 2020. It is important to note that we are not attempting to forecast or predict gross domestic product (GDP) or other headline economic statistics here, and the indicators should not be interpreted in this way.

    Rather, by exploring big, closer-to-real-time datasets of activity likely to have an impact on the economy, we provide an early picture of a range of activities that supplement official economic statistics and may aid economic and monetary policymakers and analysts in interpreting the economic situation.

    Figure 8: All major industries had strongly negative VAT turnover diffusion indices in April 2020, meaning more firms saw their turnover decrease than increase

    Embed code

    Source: Office for National Statistics - Faster Indicators

    Notes

    1. Agri - Agriculture, forestry and fishing, All - All industries, SA - Seasonally adjusted, NSA - Not seasonally adjusted.
    2. All industries are unweighted: each firm contributing to the index has the same weight regardless of turnover, size or industry.
    3. The thresholds for the colours in the heatmap are based on standard deviations from the mean of the indicator between 2008 and 2019.

    From March to April 2020, the all-industry diffusion index was 3.9 standard deviations below its historical mean, indicating that in general more firms had decreasing turnover than increasing. This was driven by declines in all the major sectors: services, construction, production and agriculture.

    Construction saw a particularly negative diffusion index, more than 8 standard deviations below its historical mean. This is the most negative value construction’s diffusion index has taken since our time series started in January 2008, including during the financial crisis.

    The month-on-year-ago all industries diffusion index is relatively less negative than the month-on-month index but remains significantly below its historical mean.

    The new reporters index measures the number of firms sending VAT returns for the first time, which is related to the number of firm births. In May 2020, the index dropped 0.7 standard deviations below its historical mean. There has been a small increase in the number of new VAT reporters between April 2020 and May 2020 from 15,250 to 16,460. However, the number of new reporters in May 2020 is still below the 2015 to 2019 five-year average of 20,866, and apart from April 2020, was the lowest since June 2013.

    Nôl i'r tabl cynnwys

    8. Shipping

    These shipping indicators are based on counts of all vessels, and cargo and tanker vessels. As discussed in Faster indicators of UK economic activity: shipping, we expect the shipping indicators to be related to the import and export of goods.

    Nôl i'r tabl cynnwys

    9. Universal Credit

    Figure 10: New declarations for Universal Credit and new claim advances continue to decline following peaks on 27 March and 6 April, respectively

    Embed code

    Notes: These declaration figures have not been derived to the same methodology as official statistics, and therefore the Management Information and official statistics will not be directly comparable. Figures relate to Great Britain only, and Northern Ireland is not included.

    Download the data

    The first chart in Figure 10 shows the number of new declarations, which is when an individual or household provides information on their personal circumstances to begin a Universal Credit (UC) claim. Note not all declarations will go on to receive a payment.

    In the first half of March 2020, new declarations for individuals were steady between 11,000 and 16,000 each weekday (lower on weekends). This rose steeply following the advisory announcement on 16 March to avoid non-essential travel, bars, restaurants and other indoor leisure venues, and to work from home if possible, to peak on 27 March with 146,290 declarations on the fifth day of lockdown, which was announced on 23 March. Measures to temporarily close entertainment, hospitality and indoor leisure premises took effect from 20 March. Numbers then declined gradually in the subsequent weeks to 17,150 new individual declarations on 2 June.

    The second chart in Figure 10 shows the number of new claim advances, which provide support to new claimants in financial need until they receive their first regular payment of Universal Credit.

    At the beginning of March, advances for new claims were steady between 5,000 and 6,000 each weekday (lower on weekends). New claim advances peaked on 6 April at 35,280, which was 10 days after the peak of new declarations on 27 March. After the peak, new claim advances have steadily fallen to 5,940 on 2 June.

    Nôl i'r tabl cynnwys

    10. Data

    Economic activity, faster indicators, UK
    Dataset | Released 11 June 2020
    Data on road traffic and Value Added Tax (VAT) data from HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC).

    Weekly and daily shipping indicators
    Dataset | Released 11 June 2020
    The weekly and daily shipping indicators dataset associated with the faster indicators of UK economic activity.

    Online price changes for high-demand products
    Dataset | Released 11 June 2020
    Weekly online price changes of selected high-demand products (HDPs).

    Online job advert estimates
    Dataset | Released 11 June 2020
    Experimental job advert indices covering the UK job market.

    Nôl i'r tabl cynnwys

    11. Glossary

    Diffusion index

    The diffusion index tracks the growth in turnover and expenditure of firms. It is constructed to lie between negative one and one. For example, if all firms report an increase in turnover or expenditure in the latest period relative to the base period, the index would be one.

    Faster indicator

    A faster indicator provides insights into economic activity using close-to-real-time big data, administrative data sources, rapid response surveys or experimental statistics, which represent useful economic and social concepts.

    High-demand product (HDP) basket

    The HDP basket contains everyday essential items that were identified at the beginning of the crisis to have high consumer demand, including items from food, health and hygiene categories. The selection of these items was based on anecdotal evidence on patterns of consumer spend. The basket does not cover all items within these categories.

    New reporter

    A new reporter is defined as a firm with a Value Added Tax (VAT) reference (that is, firm identification number), which has not previously reported its VAT returns. New reporters are published within one month of the end of the reporting period.

    The new reporting behaviour measure is classified by the month the data were received by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC), known as the receipt date, which is not necessarily the same as the reference period (the period for which the VAT return is made).

    For more information please see the methodology article on Value Added Tax returns.

    Nôl i'r tabl cynnwys

    12. Measuring the data

    Business Impact of Coronavirus (COVID-19) Survey

    The business indicators are based on responses from the voluntary, fortnightly Business Impact of Coronavirus (COVID-19) Survey (BICS), which captures business' views on impact on turnover, workforce, prices, trade and business resilience. The data relate to initial Wave 6 results, covering the survey period 18 to 31 May 2020, and the survey questions for the period are available in Business Impact of COVID-19 Survey questions: 18 May 2020 to 31 May 2020.

    Estimates from the BICS are currently unweighted and should be treated with caution when used to evaluate the impact of the coronavirus pandemic across the UK economy. Each business was assigned the same weight regardless of turnover, size or industry.

    More information on the quality and methodology, including response rates, sample size and weighting, is available in the "Measuring the data" section of the Coronavirus and the economic impacts on the UK bulletin.

    Social impact of the coronavirus (OPN)

    Data on the social impact of the coronavirus on Great Britain were collected from the Opinions and Lifestyle Survey (OPN). The data relate to the final results for Wave 12, covering the period 4 June to 7 June 2020. In this wave, 2,500 individuals were sampled, with a response rate of 76% (or 1,914 individuals) for the survey.

    The main questions asked of respondents were:

    • In the past seven days, have you avoided contact with older people or other vulnerable people because of the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak?
    • In the past seven days, for what reasons have you left your home?
    • In the past seven days, have you worked from home because of the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak?
    • In the past seven days, have you self-isolated because of the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak?
    • In the past seven days have you visited a park or public green space?'

    Full response categories included in the series “Either not left home or only left for work, exercise, essential shopping, medical need" were: 

    • travelling to and from work
    • for exercise, for example a run, walk or cycle - alone or with members of your household
    • shopping for basic necessities
    • any medical need, or to provide care or to help a vulnerable person

    This series is not an estimate of compliance, as guidance on reasons to leave home have changed through the weeks data has been collected.

    More information on the quality and methodology of the OPN is available in the “Measuring the data” section of the Coronavirus and the social impacts on Great Britain bulletin.

    Online job advert estimates

    These estimates are experimental and will be developed over the coming weeks. More information on the methodology used to compile these estimates is in the article, Using Adzuna data to derive an indicator of weekly vacancies: Experimental Statistics.

    Online price change for high-demand products (HDPs)

    Prices were scraped daily from several large online UK retailers (typically supermarkets and other prominent high-street chains with an online presence) from 16 March to 7 June 2020 for selected items chosen to form the HDP basket (see Table 1 in the online price changes for HDPs methodology).

    An average weekly price was then calculated for each unique product and a movement splice GEKS-Jevons index was calculated using a rolling window of five weeks. More information detailing our plan for data collection, compilation and publication of our various prices statistics following movement restrictions as a result of the coronavirus pandemic is available.

    More information on the quality and methodology of the online price changes data is available in the Online price changes of HDPs methodology.

    Shipping indicators

    These weekly and daily faster shipping indicators data are created through new experimental methods and are not official statistics. More quality and methodology information is available in Faster indicators of UK economic activity: shipping.

    Value Added Tax (VAT)

    VAT diffusion indices are created through new experimental methods and are not official statistics. More quality and methodology information is available in Faster indicators of UK economic activity: Value Added Tax returns.

    Nôl i'r tabl cynnwys

    13. Strengths and limitations

    Business Impact of Coronavirus (COVID-19) Survey

    The Business Impact of Coronavirus (COVID-19) Survey (BICS) is voluntary and responses are qualitative, which should be treated with caution as results reflect the characteristics of those who responded and not necessarily the wider business population.

    These data should not be used in place of official statistics. The survey was designed to give an indication of the impact of the coronavirus on businesses and a timelier estimate than other surveys.

    More information on the strengths and limitations of the BICS data is available in the "Strengths and limitations" section of the Coronavirus and the economic impacts on the UK bulletin.

    Social impact of the coronavirus (OPN)

    More information on the strengths and limitations of the Opinions and Lifestyle Survey (OPN) is available in the "Strengths and limitations" section of the Coronavirus and the social impacts on Great Britain bulletin.

    Online job advert estimates

    These estimates are experimental and will be developed over the coming weeks. Information on the strengths and limitations of these estimates is in the article, Using Adzuna data to derive an indicator of weekly vacancies: Experimental Statistics.

    Online price change for high-demand products (HDPs)

    These experimental online price changes data should not be compared with the headline Consumer Prices Index including owner occupiers' housing costs (CPIH). The CPIH is produced using different methods, data and quality thresholds, and it incorporates a broader range of goods and services, such as housing.

    More information on the strengths and limitations of the online price changes data is available in the Online price changes of high-demand products (HDPs) methodology.

    Shipping indicators and Value Added Tax (VAT)

    It should be noted that these indicators are not intended to be an early measure or predictor of gross domestic product (GDP), and their potential relationship with headline GDP should be interpreted with caution. Instead, they provide an early picture of a range of activities that are likely to have an impact on the economy, supplementing official economic statistics.

    Publication of coronavirus-related data

    We will publish this bulletin on a weekly basis during the coronavirus pandemic. This is to ensure we are meeting user needs for more timely data. We will be adding new data and experimental indicators as and when data become available each week.

    This publication will include regularly updated data from the new fortnightly survey, BICS, online prices for HDPs and weekly indicators from the OPN on the social impact of the coronavirus.

    Nôl i'r tabl cynnwys

    Manylion cyswllt ar gyfer y Bwletin ystadegol

    Chloe Gibbs
    faster.indicators@ons.gov.uk
    Ffôn: +44 (0)1633 651 988