Pandemic Journal (# 15): Declining U.S. Gross Domestic Product 

On April 29, the U.S. Commerce Department reported that the U.S. Gross Domestic Product (GDP) for the first quarter of the year declined at a 4.8% annual rate. “That is the first decline since 2014, and the worst quarterly contraction since the country was in a deep recession more than a decade    ago.” [1]

Moreover, “Economists widely expect the Commerce Department to revise the first quarter figure even lower as more data becomes available. Goldman Sachs says the true decline was likely over 8 percent. JPMorgan Chase says it was likely over 11 percent.”

Most of this quarter that ended on March 31 “came before the coronavirus pandemic forced widespread shutdowns and layoffs. Economists expect figures from the current quarter to show G.D.P. contracting at an annual rate of 30 percent or more.” As the Wall Street Journal stated, this number “indicated the economy is sliding toward a near-certain recession and signaled the end of the longest economic expansion on record.”

“Many economists [already] have said the pandemic has put the U.S. in a recession. The number of American workers filing new claims for jobless benefits in recent weeks, at more than 26 million, points to an unprecedented wave of layoffs, and readings on consumer and business activity are showing record declines.”


These numbers confirm what everyone in the U.S. (and the rest of the world) already knows. The pandemic has caused and will continue to cause enormous economic pain in the U.S. and around the world.


[1] The U.S. economy contracted by the most since the great recession,,N.Y. Times (April 29, 2020); Torry, U.S. Economy Shrank at 4.8% Pace in first Quarter, W.S.J. (April 29, 2020); Long, U.S. economy shrank 4.8 percent in first quarter, the biggest decline since the Great Recession, Wash. Post (April 29, 2020).