Friday 12 February 2021 8:49 am

ONS: Pandemic impact cuts through all major sectors

The ONS published sector figures for services, trade, construction and production output this morning.


The Index of Services grew by 1.7 per cent between November and December last year.

The largest contribution to monthly growth was accommodation and food service activities, rising by more than 25 per cent.

In December, the Index of Services was just under 7 per cent below February 2020, the last month of normal trading conditions prior to the pandemic.

Services output fell by 7.3 per cent between the fourth quarters of 2019 and 2020, led by accommodation and food service activities falling by more than half.

Read more: Covid restrictions drive online food shopping to record high as customers eat in to help out


Total trade deficit for December widened by £0.3bn to £5.6bn, as imports and exports rose by £0.8bn and £0.4bn respectively.

Increasing goods imports were driven by transport equipment as pharmaceutical products and car parts were stockpiled in preparation for the UK’s EU exit.

In 2020, the total trade deficit narrowed by £11.3bn to £15bn.

Read more: FTSE 100 trades flat as banks lead the biggest fallers


Construction output fell by 2.9 per cent in December 2020 due to falls in new work, repairs and maintenance.

This is the first decline in monthly growth since April 2020 when it fell by a record 40.7 per cent.

The December level of output is 3.5 per cent below the pre-Covid level.

All work fell by 12.5 per cent last year compared with 2019, the largest decline since 2009 where output fell by 13.2 per cent.

Read more: UK PMIs: Construction activity contracts for the first time since May


Production output increased by 0.2 per cent towards the end of the year, with small rises in manufacturing electricity, gas and water supply.

Meanwhile, the Index of Production was 3.6 per cent below its pre-Covid levels in December, as output fell 8.6 per cent in the prior 12 months.

This drop was led by a 9.9 per cent fall in manufacturing output.

Read more: UK PMIs: Manufacturing activity slows in January as export orders shrink

Source: Pantheon Macroeconomics