After suffering a first contraction after 23 consecutive quarters of growth in Q1 of 2020 and experiencing the steepest decline ever recorded in the second quarter, U.S. GDP growth has jumped up again in Q3. According to an advance estimate published by the Bureau of Economic Analysis today, real GDP grew by 33.1 percent (quarter-on-quarter) at an annualized rate in the three months ending September 30. After the steepest decline ever, the new figure is the fastest quarter-on-quarter increase in history. Yet, GDP remains below 2019 levels.
Considering that large parts of the U.S. were on lockdown through April and parts of May, it had been widely expected that the fallout of the pandemic would become fully apparent in the second quarter of the year after economic output had dropped by “just” 5 percent in Q1. Now Q3 shows the effects of the American economy reopening - in many places despite growing infection numbers. With winter approaching fast and a change in U.S. leadership possible, the future of the U.S. coronavirus response and its effect on the country's economy remains unclear in the quarters ahead.