Official figures for gross domestic product (GDP), the broadest measure of economic prosperity, from the Office for National Statistics showed the impact of measures that forced businesses across the UK to close and millions of workers to be put on furlough.
Revealing the scale of the economic downturn in the first full month of lockdown, April was a particularly tough month for employees and companies, with vast swathes of the UK economy unable to operate.
Virtually no area of the economy was left unscathed as people were told to stay at home to prevent the spread of Covid-19 and businesses closed. Britain’s dominant services sector shrank by a fifth, fuelled by the closure of the high street, evaporating sales of cars, as well as pubs, restaurants and hotels.
Faced with disruption to international supply chains and the need to protect workers, shutdowns in production at many factories and the running of reduced hours at others led manufacturing output to fall by a quarter. With cranes and diggers across the country falling idle as the virus spread, construction output plunged by 40%.