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COVID-19

U.S. economy shrank at record-breaking 33% rate last quarter

Associated Press Jul 30, 2020
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The Commerce Department’s estimate of the second-quarter decline in GDP marked the sharpest such drop on records dating to 1947. Valerie Macon/AFP via Getty Images
COVID-19

U.S. economy shrank at record-breaking 33% rate last quarter

Associated Press Jul 30, 2020
The Commerce Department’s estimate of the second-quarter decline in GDP marked the sharpest such drop on records dating to 1947. Valerie Macon/AFP via Getty Images
HTML EMBED:
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The audio attached to this post features an interview from the “Marketplace Morning Report” with Diane Swonk, chief economist at the tax and advisory firm at Grant Thornton.

What’s important is the losses were so broad-based,” she told host David Brancaccio. “We saw them in every single category, even in government spending where increases at the federal level offset declines at the state and local levels, which were quite steep.”

Click the audio player above to listen.


The U.S. economy shrank at a dizzying 32.9% annual rate in the April-June quarter — by far the worst quarterly plunge ever — when the viral outbreak shut down businesses, throwing tens of millions out of work and sending unemployment surging to 14.7%, the government said Thursday.

The Commerce Department’s estimate of the second-quarter decline in the gross domestic product, the total output of goods and services, marked the sharpest such drop on records dating to 1947. The previous worst quarterly contraction, a 10% drop, occurred in 1958 during the Eisenhower administration

COVID-19 Economy FAQs

What does the unemployment picture look like?

It depends on where you live. The national unemployment rate has fallen from nearly 15% in April down to 8.4% percent last month. That number, however, masks some big differences in how states are recovering from the huge job losses resulting from the pandemic. Nevada, Hawaii, California and New York have unemployment rates ranging from 11% to more than 13%. Unemployment rates in Idaho, Nebraska, South Dakota and Vermont have now fallen below 5%.

Will it work to fine people who refuse to wear a mask?

Travelers in the New York City transit system are subject to $50 fines for not wearing masks. It’s one of many jurisdictions imposing financial penalties: It’s $220 in Singapore, $130 in the United Kingdom and a whopping $400 in Glendale, California. And losses loom larger than gains, behavioral scientists say. So that principle suggests that for policymakers trying to nudge people’s public behavior, it may be better to take away than to give.

How are restaurants recovering?

Nearly 100,000 restaurants are closed either permanently or for the long term — nearly 1 in 6, according to a new survey by the National Restaurant Association. Almost 4.5 million jobs still haven’t come back. Some restaurants have been able to get by on innovation, focusing on delivery, selling meal or cocktail kits, dining outside — though that option that will disappear in northern states as temperatures fall. But however you slice it, one analyst said, the United States will end the year with fewer restaurants than it began with. And it’s the larger chains that are more likely to survive.

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