U.S. economy plunges 31.4% in spring but big rebound expected

The U.S. economy plunged at a record rate in the spring but is poised to swing to a record increase in the quarter that is just ending.

The Commerce Department reported Wednesday (September 30th) that the gross domestic product, the economy’s total output of goods and services, fell at a rate of 31.4 per cent in the April-June quarter, only slightly changed from the 31.7 per cent drop estimated one month ago.

The new report, the government’s last look at the second quarter, showed a decline that was more than three times larger than the previous record-holder, a fall of 10 per cent in the first quarter of 1958.

Economists believe the economy will expand at an annual rate of 30 per cent in the current quarter as businesses have re-opened and millions of people have gone back to work. That would shatter the old record for a quarterly GDP increase, a 16.7 per cent surge in the first quarter of 1950.

The government will not release its July-September GDP report until Oct. 29, just five days before the presidential election.