The U.S. economy turned in its worst performance ever in the second quarter as the COVID-19 pandemic shuttered businesses across the country and consumers hunkered down at home.
The nation’s gross domestic product, the value of all goods and services produced in the U.S., contracted at a staggering seasonally adjusted annual rate of 32.9% in the April-June period, the Commerce Department said Thursday.
Economists surveyed by Bloomberg had forecast a 34.8% drop in GDP.
The free-fall was driven by a historic 34.6% pullback in consumer spending as states closed down nonessential businesses such as restaurants, malls and movie theaters, and Americans avoided public gathering spots and travel out of contagion fears. But nearly every corner of the economy was battered, including business investment and stockpiling, housing and exports, though trade overall and government outlays added to growth.
The contraction followed a 5% slide in economic output in the first quarter.
The nation’s steepest-ever recession is also expected to be the shortest, with consumer spending, job growth and other key measures bouncing back sharply in May and June as states began allowing businesses to reopen in phases and many employees were rehired.
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