Global economic recovery shows signs of slowing

The U.K. economy grew 6.6% in July from June, having expanded by 8.7% in that earlier month. That puts the U.K. on track for a 15% gain in output in the third quarter, following a 20.4% drop in the second.

However, output remained 11.7% lower than it was in February, the last month before the pandemic began to disrupt the economy. Output in the services sector, which relies more on face-to-face contact, was down 12.6% from February, while industrial output was down 7%.

The figures strengthen the view of many economists that a return to pre-coronavirus levels of output will be painfully slow in most of the rich world, as the coronavirus deters everything from travel to entertainment to office work.

Economic data that has a good record of anticipating growth indicates that strong growth in the third quarter will likely be followed by more modest expansion as companies, workers and governments adjust to what could be an extended period of uncertainty over the evolution of the pandemic and the availability of a vaccine.