The Covid-19 pandemic caused the deepest U.S. recession since at least World War II. Gross domestic product shrank at an annual rate of 31.4% in the second quarter. Covid-19 is infecting more than 50,000 Americans a day, the most since early August. Somehow, though, the economy has roared back. On Oct. 29, according to economists surveyed by Bloomberg, the government is likely to report that GDP rose an annualized 30% in the third quarter—also a postwar record. These graphics portray a recovery that’s incomplete yet remarkable.
Fears that a resurgence of the virus would cause the economy to lapse back into recession are fading. Economists polled by Bloomberg predict slightly stronger-than-normal GDP growth for the current quarter and all of 2021. That should cause the unemployment rate—which peaked at 13% ① in June—to drift down to about 6% by the end of 2021, the median prediction in the Bloomberg survey. Women’s participation in the labor force ② plunged in April, possibly because mothers dropped out to care for kids when schools closed, but has partially recovered.