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Recession in real time: how big data can track the Covid slump

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August 08, 2020 at 04:00PM

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Official economic data for June will be out this week. But unconventional indicators can help gauge conditions right now

This week it will be confirmed that Britain’s economy is in the deepest recession for at least a century. Yet only a few days ago, the Bank of England heralded a return to growth, forecasting a more rapid recovery than previously feared.

Official growth figures due to be published on Wednesday by the Office for National Statistics are expected to show a 21% plunge in gross domestic product (GDP) in the three months to June. After GDP slumped by 2.2% in the first quarter, this will confirm two consecutive quarters of falling output – the technical definition of a recession.

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