A Collapse That Wiped Out 5 Years of Growth, With No Bounce in Sight

A Collapse That Wiped Out 5 Years of Growth, With No Bounce in Sight

  • The second-quarter contraction set a grim record, and it would have been worse without government aid that is expiring.

The coronavirus pandemic’s toll on the nation’s economy became emphatically clearer Thursday as the government detailed the most devastating three-month collapse on record, which wiped away nearly five years of growth.

Gross domestic product, the broadest measure of goods and services produced, fell 9.5 percent in the second quarter of the year as consumers cut back spending, businesses pared investments and global trade dried up, the Commerce Department said.

The drop — the equivalent of a 32.9 percent annual rate of decline — would have been even more severe without trillions of dollars in government aid to households and businesses.

But there is mounting evidence that the attempt to freeze the economy and defeat the virus has not produced the rapid rebound that many envisioned. A surge in coronavirus cases and deaths across the country has led to a renewed pullback in economic activity, reflecting consumer unease and renewed shutdowns. And much of the government support is on the verge of running out, with Washington at an impasse over next steps.