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Employers in March and April cut a whopping 22. 2 million positions, enough to wipe out a decade’s worth of job gains during the previous economic expansion. Even with 9. 3 million gained across May, June and July, the job market still has a hole of about 12. 9 million positions, compared with before the coronavirus crisis.
GDP’s headline number is reported using an annualized rate of change, meaning it shows how the U. S. economy would look if every quarter were like the second three months of 2020. Technically speaking, the U. S. economy shrank by 9. 5 percent in April, May and June. The U. S. economy shrank by 32. 9 percent in the second three months of 2020. That’s the worst quarter in history, according to data dating back to the 1940s.
“If we thought the worst we’d ever see with economic data would be during the financial crisis and Great Recession, the virus proved us wrong, ” says Mark Hamrick, Bankrate’s senior economic analyst. Losses for the most part have been broad-based, with significant cuts coming first in retail, food services and tourism, then spreading to broader industries such as health care and state and local governments. So far, employers have picked up hiring again in those sectors, though it’s nowhere near pre-pandemic levels.
Here’s what’s happening in the U. S. economy right now — and how the coronavirus crisis is making or breaking it, based on these important measures. If the U. S. economy resembled any object, it’d likely be a broken traffic light.