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Coronavirus Hammered U.S. Economy in First Quarter
Wednesday, 29 April 2020 20:00 WIB | ECONOMY |GDP AS

The U.S. economy contracted in the first quarter at its sharpest pace since the Great Recession as stringent measures to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus almost shut down the country, ending the longest expansion in the nation's history.

The Commerce Department said gross domestic product fell at a 4.8% annualized rate in the January-to-March period after expanding at a 2.1% rate in the final three months of 2019. Economists in a Reuters poll had been looking for a GDP contraction of 4%, though estimates ranged to as low as negative 15%.

The decline reflected a plunge in economic activity in the last two weeks of March, which saw millions of Americans seeking unemployment benefits. The snapshot will reinforce analysts' predictions that the economy was already in a deep recession.

Most of the key components of U.S. economic output - including consumer spending, which accounts for two-thirds of economic activity - fell sharply.

The first-quarter decline was the steepest pace of contraction in GDP since the first quarter of 2009.

Many factories and nonessential businesses like restaurants and other social venues were shuttered or operated below capacity amid nationwide lockdowns to control the spread of COVID-19, the potentially lethal respiratory illness caused by the virus.

Source : Reuters

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