Monthly Decision Maker Panel data - July 2020

The Decision Maker Panel (DMP) is a survey of Chief Financial Officers from small, medium and large UK businesses. We use it to monitor developments in the economy and to track businesses’ views.
Published on 06 August 2020

The July DMP survey was conducted between 3 and 17 July and received 2,788 responses.

In the July DMP survey, businesses estimated that their sales in 2020 Q2 were 30% lower than they would otherwise have been because of Covid-19, employment 5% lower and investment 33% lower.

Sales were expected to recover only gradually over the next year with the negative impact from Covid-19 lessening from 30% in 2020 Q2 to 18% in Q3, 13% in Q4 and 8% in 2021 Q1. The reduction in employment was expected to be larger in Q3 and Q4 of this year than in Q2, peaking at 8% in Q4.

Those expected impacts of Covid-19 on sales, employment and investment were smaller than at the time of the June survey. The expected reduction in sales from Covid-19 in 2020 Q2 and Q3 was 7 percentage points smaller, although the revision was more modest in later quarters.

Businesses reported that 18% of employees had been furloughed in July (still employed but not required to work any hours), down from 30% in June. The percentage of employees working on business premises was reported to have increased from 32% to 45% over the same period.

Firms estimated that their unit costs in 2020 Q2 had been 6% higher, on average, than they would otherwise have been as a result of implementing measures to contain coronavirus, such as social distancing. Unit costs were expected to remain between 6% and 7% higher over the next year.

Overall uncertainty remained high in July. 76% of firms viewed overall economic uncertainty as high or very high in July. That was slightly higher than 74% in the June survey but lower than the peak of 84% reported in April.

The DMP was set up in August 2016 by the Bank of England together with academics from Stanford University and the University of Nottingham. It was designed to be representative of the population of UK businesses. All results are weighted. See Bloom et al (2017) for more details.

The DMP receives funding from the Economic and Social Research Council.