COVID-19 Business Stats 5

3rd August 2020 by P Mundy

What’s happening out there? How are businesses performing as government support for COVID diminishes?

If you are interested in a quick view of the ONS stats related to business activity during the COVID period, read on. Here are key stats extracted from pages of original survey data, without the headline bias of global media.

If you like spreadsheet tables you can find the original data here on the ONS site: BICS Wave 9: 29 June to 12 July 2020. The previous two-week view can be found here: COVID-19 Business Stats 4.

Trading Status

Companies were asked to declare if they were trading, paused, or permanently closed down during period 13th-26th July 2020.

The missing 0.7% covers respondents replying as permanently closed down, but this is noted as potentially inaccurate due to multiple responses.

Who is still paused?

The Accommodation and Food industry is racing back into operation to make the most of summer, leaving Arts and Entertainment behind. On the face of it, things should be looking up, and they are, but being open for business is only half the story.

How much of the workforce is furloughed?

The furlough scheme was without a doubt a life-saver for many companies, but in my opinion, it isn’t a medicine without side-effects. Keeping a significant level of the workforce on furlough is not going to help the companies, the economy directly, and importantly the supply chains everyone depends on.

There may well be an argument that some are recognising they’ve been under-utilising their staff previously and are currently doing fine, but I’ve also seen businesses taking a ‘risk-averse’ position and working at lower operating levels to see what happens while they are propped up by the furlough scheme. Furlough support will end, and those businesses will not recover their market share quickly. In the meantime, their part in the overall supply chain will either go unsatisfied or go elsewhere.

Financial performance

Turnover vs expected

Cash position summary

Businesses were asked to assess their cash position at the time of response to the survey 13th July to 26th July

Cash position by sector

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