Haldane argued, though, that the second-quarter monthly breakdown showed that while the economy fell off a cliff in April and May, when the lockdown was tightest, it bounced back strongly during June.
The media must avoid “catastrophising”, he said, lest ongoing bad outcomes become a self-fulfilling prophesy. “This is human nature at times of stress – but it can also make for an overly pessimistic popular narrative, which fosters fear, fatalism and excess caution.”
The UK faces an “unholy trinity of risks from Covid, unemployment and Brexit”, Haldane acknowledged, but the encouraging post-lockdown recovery “should not be overlooked”.
Forecasting 20pc quarter-on-quarter GDP growth when the July-to-September figures are published, he argued the economy could already be just 3-4pc smaller than before any of us had heard of Covid-19.
While readers may scoff, there is something in Haldane’s argument. Many journalists – especially broadcast journalists – do emphasise bad news. And few drill down beyond the basic headline numbers.
While retail sales collapsed in the face of the lockdown, we’ve since seen a clear V-shaped recovery. The latest data show strong growth during successive months from May through to August, with overall monthly sales now 4pc higher than in pre-lockdown February – although considerable volume has migrated from the high street to online.