UK Recession Is Basically the Worst

Its economy contracted by more than any other major economy in Q2
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 12, 2020 6:02 AM CDT
UK Recession Is Basically the Worst
In this Tuesday, March 24, 2020 file photo, a woman wearing a face mask to protect against coronavirus, waits at a bus stop on a deserted Oxford Street in London.   (AP Photo/Matt Dunham, File)

It's a double whammy for the UK, which as of Wednesday claims not just Europe's worst coronavirus death toll, but also the worst recession of any major economy. Stats released Wednesday show the UK's GDP shrank 20.4% in the second quarter after a 2.2% loss in the quarter before it—with two consecutive quarters of contraction signaling a recession. How that stacks up with other countries: Spain saw a 19% contraction for the quarter, but the figures decrease from there, per the Wall Street Journal. Among the G7 members, France lost about 14%, Italy 12%, and the US and Germany around 10%. The AP notes that Canada and Japan, which make up the remainder of the G7, haven't released Q2 numbers, but economists aren't predicting numbers as severe as the UK's.

The BBC notes it's the first time the country has been in a recession since 2009, and the 20.4% figure is the worst since record-keeping began in 1955. Economists see the lockdown timing at play here, noting that its March 23 start lagged those of other European countries by a couple weeks as did its eventual easing due to the severity of its outbreak. Shops opened their doors June 15, for instance, while in Germany the reopening came on May 6. That means its economy was on ice for more of the quarter compared to other countries. Things did look somewhat better in June, with the economy growing 8.7% month-over-month. UK finance minister Rishi Sunak put it plainly, per CNN: "Today's figures confirm that hard times are here." (Read more recession stories.)

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