Monthly Decision Maker Panel data - October 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 05 November 2020

The October DMP survey was conducted between 2 and 16 October and received 2,808 responses.

In the October DMP survey, businesses estimated that their sales in 2020 Q3 were 18% lower than they would otherwise have been because of Covid-19, employment 8% lower and investment 25% lower.

Sales were expected to recover gradually over the next few quarters. The negative impact of Covid-19 on sales was expected to ease from 18% in 2020 Q3 to 15% in 2020 Q4, 14% in 2021 Q1 and 9% in 2021 Q2. On average, these expectations were around 2 percentage points lower than in the September survey. 

The effect on employment was expected to be more persistent than sales. Employment was expected to remain 8% lower as a result of Covid-19 in 2020 Q3 and 2021 Q1. That negative effect was then expected to reduce slightly to 7% in 2021 Q2.

The percentage of employees on furlough (still employed but not required to work any hours) continued to fall in October. Businesses reported that 6% of employees had been furloughed in October, slightly down from 7% in September and a peak of 36% in April.

Overall uncertainty remained high. 72% of businesses viewed overall economic uncertainty as high or very high in October. That was slightly higher than 71% in the September survey, and much higher than 40% at the start of the year.

The September survey also asked businesses how ready they were for potential extra requirements of trading with the EU when the current transition period comes to an end. 4% of businesses reported that they were fully prepared, 41% were ‘as ready as they can be’, 33% said that they were partially prepared, 4% were not at all prepared and 19% did not trade with the EU.

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.