29 November 2020
Private sector activity fell at a slower pace in the three months to November compared to October (balance of -16% from -29%). That’s according to the latest CBI monthly Growth Indicator.
The composite measure, based on 620 responses to CBI surveys that were in field between 26 October and 16 November, saw sales in the distribution sector grow at the fastest rate since May 2019 (+10% from -12%) and business & professional services activity fall at a much slower rate (-21% from -40%). The decline in both manufacturing (-6% from -8%) and consumer services (-42% from -45%) remained similar to previous months.
Looking ahead to the next three months, the pace of decline is expected to pick up once again (-24%), with distribution sales falling back into the red (-16%) , the pace of decline increasing in manufacturing (-10%), while activity is expected to decline at a similar pace in business & professional services (-25%) and consumer services (-46%).
Alpesh Paleja, CBI Lead Economist, said:
“While the quarterly decline in private sector activity appears to have eased, it’s likely that some of our surveys capture demand brought forward before the second English lockdown came into force. It’s clear that many businesses have seen a hit since, as illustrated by the continually steep fall in consumer services activity.
“With a new tier system in place from December, businesses facing ongoing restrictions must receive the financial support that they need to make it through to the Spring. Firms will also need to know what support will be available beyond this in advance, rather than it going to the wire. Getting this right now will build the foundations for a sustainable post-Covid economic recovery.”