US economy surges by record 33.1 per cent

WASHINGTON — The US economy rebounded at a record pace of 33.1 per cent in the July-September quarter, unchanged from the first estimate a month ago. But a resurgence in the coronavirus is expected to slow growth sharply in the current quarter with some economists even raising the spectre of a double-dip recession.

The overall increase in the gross domestic product, the country’s total output of goods and services, remained the same as its first estimate, the Commerce Department reported Thursday, although some components were revised.

Bigger gains in business investment, housing and exports were offset by downward revisions to state and local government spending, business inventories and consumer spending.

The 33.1 per cent gain was the largest quarterly gain on records going back to 1947 and surpassed the old mark of a 16.7 per cent surge in 1950.

Still even with the big increase, the economy has not gained back all the output that was lost in the first six months of the year the output lost in the first six months of the year when GDP fell at an annual rate of 5 per cent in the first quarter and suffered a record-shattering drop of 31.4 per cent in the second quarter when the pandemic shut down much of the economy and triggered millions of layoffs.

Economists are concerned that growth has slowed sharply in the current October-December and some fear that GDP could dip back into negative territory in the first three months of next year.