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Second-quarter GDP plunged by worst-ever 32.9% amid virus-induced shutdown



The U.S. economy suffered its worst period ever in the second quarter, with GDP falling a historic 32.9%.


Neither the Great Depression nor the Great Recession nor any other slump over the past two centuries have ever caused such a sharp drain on the economy.



Sharp contractions in personal consumption, exports, inventories, investment and spending by state and local governments converged to bring down GDP, which is the combined tally of all goods and services produced during the period.


Personal consumption, which historically has accounted for about two-thirds of all activity in the U.S., subtracted 25% from the Q2 total, with services accounting for nearly all that drop. 


Spending slid in health care and goods such as clothing and footwear. Inventory investment drops were led by motor vehicle dealers, while equipment spending and new family housing took hits when it came to investment.


By comparison, the worst quarter during the financial crisis of 2008 was the 8.4% GDP drop in the fourth quarter of that year. The previous low-water mark was a 10% slide in the first quarter of 1958, while the worst in recorded history came in Q2 of 1921.


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