25 Sep 2020
Consumer confidence in the UK improved in September to the highest point since the coronavirus lockdown was introduced in March.
Nevertheless, the figure is still far below pre-crisis levels, according to the findings of a survey published on Monday.
The GfK Consumer Confidence Barometer increased to -25 this month from a reading of -27 in August. Economists polled by Reuters forecast the reading to have stayed the same.
The survey was carried out in the first half of September, before the new social restrictions were announced by the government on Tuesday to attempt to contain a second wave of coronavirus across Britain.
Client strategy director at GfK Joe Staton said of the findings: “Only an unbridled optimist will bet on confidence climbing further.”
GfK polled 2,000 people between 1-14 September for the EU.
Despite muted confidence surveys, UK consumer spending has enjoyed a robust rally since the initial shock of the lockdown back in April, with retail sales now higher than pre-pandemic levels, Reuters reports.
That said, the threat of a rise in unemployment has led to increased caution amongst many economists, particularly as Chancellor Rishi Sunak said on Thursday that the government support for furloughed workers is being scaled back from November.
The Chancellor said the government would only subsidise staff with feasible long-term jobs, with others needing to find new jobs.
According to the Recruitment and Employment Confederation, almost 129,000 job postings were published last week, the highest figure since the beginning of lockdown.
Chief executive of the Recruitment and Employment Confederation, Neil Carberry stated: “Importantly, Tuesday’s (coronavirus) announcements did not close down significant parts of our economy, so we can hope that the trend of improvement we have seen over the summer persists.”