The Office for National Statistics (ONS) confirmed the UK’s nosedive into recession for the first time since the financial crisis after the record-breaking contraction in the second quarter, which follows a 2.2% fall in the previous three months.
A recession is defined as two successive quarters of decline in gross domestic product (GDP).
But monthly figures showed the economy bounced back by 8.7% in June, following upwardly revised growth of 2.4% in May, as lockdown restrictions eased.
After the GDP figures were revealed, chancellor Rishi Sunak said: “I’ve said before that hard times were ahead, and today’s figures confirm that hard times are here.
“Hundreds of thousands of people have already lost their jobs, and sadly in the coming months many more will.
“But while there are difficult choices to be made ahead, we will get through this, and I can assure people that nobody will be left without hope or opportunity.”
Jonathan Athow, deputy national statistician at the ONS, said: “The recession brought on by the coronavirus pandemic has led to the biggest fall in quarterly GDP on record.
“The economy began to bounce back in June with shops reopening, factories beginning to ramp up production and housebuilding continuing to recover. Despite this, GDP in June still remains a sixth below its level in February, before the virus struck.
“Overall, productivity saw its largest-ever fall in the second quarter. Hospitality was worst hit, with productivity in that industry falling by three-quarters in recent months.”
Shadow chancellor Anneliese Dodds tweeted: “We’ve already got the worst excess death rate in Europe - now we’re on course for the worst recession too.
“That’s a tragedy for our country and it’s happening on the PM’s watch. A downturn was inevitable after lockdown - Johnson’s jobs crisis wasn’t.”
We’ve already got the worst excess death rate in Europe – now we’re on course for the worst recession too.— Anneliese Dodds (@AnnelieseDodds) August 12, 2020
That’s a tragedy for our country and it’s happening on the PM’s watch.
A downturn was inevitable after lockdown - Johnson’s jobs crisis wasn’t. https://t.co/WVUKmIrJPX
This article originally appeared on HuffPost UK and has been updated.