Monthly Decision Maker Panel data - September 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 01 October 2020

The September DMP survey was conducted between 4 and 18 September and received 2,623 responses.

In the September DMP survey, businesses estimated that their sales in 2020 Q3 would be 14% lower than they would otherwise have been because of Covid-19. That represents a significant improvement from -30% in Q2. But less recovery was expected over the next two quarters. The impact of Covid-19 on sales was expected to be -14% in 2020 Q4 and -12% in 2021 Q1.

Covid-19 was expected to lower employment by 8% in 2020 Q3 and 9% in 2020 Q4, relative to what it would have been. After that, the effect on employment was expected to start to fall back to -6% by 2021 Q2. Investment was expected to be 21% lower in 2020 Q3 and to recover gradually after that.

The percentage of employees on furlough (still employed but not required to work any hours) continued to fall in September. Businesses reported that 7% of employees were on furlough in September down from 12% in August and a peak of 36% in April. 

Overall uncertainty remained high. 71% of firms viewed overall economic uncertainty as high or very high in September. That was similar to 70% in the August survey.

The percentage of businesses reporting that Brexit was in their top-three sources of uncertainty increased from 47% in August to 52% in September. That was the highest level since last December.

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, 43% were ‘as ready as they can be’, 28% said that they were partially prepared, 3% were not at all prepared and 21% 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.