UK output per hour fell 1.8% on year in second quarter

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FILE PHOTO: Shoppers walk along Oxford Street, in the centre of London's retail shopping area, amid the spread of the coronavirus disease

LONDON (Reuters) - British economic output per hour worked dropped by 1.8% during the three months to June, when the coronavirus lockdown was at its height, a smaller decline than the 3.0% drop initially estimated in August, official figures showed on Wednesday.

The Office for National Statistics said output per worker fell by 21.7%, similar to the initial estimate and close to the record 19.8% quarterly fall in GDP over the same period.

"This reflects the impact of furlough schemes, which reduced hours worked but preserved workers' employment statuses," the ONS said.

England enters a second four-week lockdown on Thursday, which will close non-essential retailers, restaurants and bars, in an attempt to reverse a sharp rise in COVID cases which the government fears could overwhelm hospitals if left unchecked.

(Reporting by David Milliken; Editing by William Schomberg)