WASHINGTON — There are signs the U.S. economy is slowly improving
after the destruction caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. At least, that’s the
view of columnist Kimberly Amadeo, who writes an online economic column at
In it, she says the U.S. economy is slowly improving after
the painful illnesses and deaths caused by the COVID-19 virus that swept
throughout the United States, closing stores, restaurants, schools, churches,
delivery services and a range of other businesses.
This “cautiously positive outlook” is based on reviews of
key economic indicators, medical statistics, hospital records and economic
statistics, as well as accelerating business reopenings.
Amadeo notes, “Analysts also have taken a hard look at oil
and gas prices, and the impact on climate change.” But she adds, “The most
critical economic indicator is GDP, which measures the nation’s production of
all goods and services.”
So what’s the U.S. economy look like right now, she asks?
“The economy recovered in the third quarter of this year,
expanding by 33.1%. Although a record, it was not enough to offset earlier
losses, including a 5% decline in real GDP at an annual rate in the first
quarter, signaling the onset of the 2020 recession.”
As Amadeo writes, “The March recession ended 128 months of
expansion, the longest in U.S. history.”
In April, retail sales were off 14.7%, as municipalities and
governors closed nonessential businesses. The unemployment rate in April also
soared into the mid-teens amid a surge in worker furloughs. By May, however,
retail sales recovered 18.3% as shops, restaurants, bars and other businesses
large and small began to reopen with safety measures in place.
According to the most recent forecast from the Federal Open
Market Committee, the economy was expected to grow at its fastest pace in four
decades this year. The Federal Reserve now estimates that the unemployment rate
will gradually decline to 4.5% or less.
Unemployment is expected to decline further in the coming
months as the $1.9 trillion in pandemic relief checks begin to kick in to the
Wall Street and the stock market also expect a major booster
shot, as consumer spending and investors pour money into banks, stores and the
Goldman Sachs is “now forecasting U.S. gross domestic
product to grow 8% this year in the fourth quarter compared with the same
period a year ago, marking the fastest increase in almost 60 years,” The
Washington Post reported Thursday.
And major corporations, including American Airlines and
United Airlines, have said they would cancel tens of thousands of planned
“It’s just a lot of people who need to get back to work, and
it’s not going to happen overnight,” said Fed Chairman Jerome Powell, adding
that the economy still had a long way to go before getting the economy back to
“The faster, the better,” he added.
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