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Coronavirus: First signs of slump show in Scotland's official figures

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image copyrightPA Media
image captionManufacturing was especially badly hit by Covid lockdown measures

Scotland's economy began to contract as soon as coronavirus lockdown measures were imposed.

Gross domestic product (GDP) fell by 2.5% in the first quarter of the year, with provisional figures for April showing an 18.9% decline.

A more dramatic contraction is expected in the next set of figures for Scotland, reflecting the suspension of much economic activity.

Figures for the UK as a whole showed a 20.4% decline in April.

The largest declines came in the production sector, particularly manufacturing.

Economy Secretary Fiona Hyslop said the statistics showed how seriously lockdown had affected business.

"The coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic is having an extremely serious impact on the economy right across the UK and - as these figures demonstrate - Scotland is no exception," she said.

"Ever since the start of this crisis the Scottish government has been working tirelessly to keep businesses afloat and ensure as many people as possible keep their jobs, and we will continue to do that.

"So far this has included a tailored package of more than £2.3bn in business support."

The value of output from the Scottish economy during April fell by 18.9%, according to Scottish government economists. The worst affected areas were hospitality and the arts, following the start of lockdown in late March.

That's an early estimate, while the Scottish government published the more reliable figure for output in the first three months of this year - down by 2.5%. That's slightly more than the 2% drop across the UK as a whole.

Across the first quarter of the year, the biggest declines were in transport, manufacturing, oil and gas production and hospitality, while electricity was one sector to see a rise.

It's expected that the sharp decline in output in the second quarter of this year will confirm the Scottish economy meets the definition of a recession.

The Scottish government said the monthly statistics should be seen as experimental but have been introduced to help track the economic impact of coronavirus.

The estimated figure for March indicated an initial fall of 5%.

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