Published: 16th September 2020 (3 Min Read)

Thanks to the Resolution Foundation for analysing this data from Google Mobility.

When one considers that in 45 days’ time the Government’s “Job Retention Scheme” is due to finish and that people on the Scheme are entitled to a minimum of 45 days’ notice, we should be looking for signs of what is to come.[i]

We know that the UK economy has been bouncing back since the low in April. It has now recovered by 18.6%, but it remains 11.7% below the level in February this year.[ii]

How much further can we go? I wonder whether we can gain any clues from the Google Mobility data. This includes data on the UK and some other leading economies.

Recreational and retail mobility (ie how much Google has tracked us moving around for these activities) has recovered but in most countries this is now plateauing in the region of 10 per cent below pre-pandemic levels. We got there by the end of August and in the UK we were doing a lot of eating out to help out.

Workplace mobility however has stalled and at much lower levels, remaining 40 per cent down on pre-Covid times. What does this mean going forward?

With 45 days remaining until the “Job Retention Scheme” is due to end, Covid-19 cases are rising and restrictions are tightening again. It seems that the economic effects of this crisis will be far from short lived.

The Chancellor may have to reconsider his plans to swiftly withdraw economic support. The summer bounce back was badly needed, but a tougher autumn lies ahead.