WASHINGTON — The fallout from the deadly coronavirus caused the U.S. economy to contract 4.8% from January through March, the deepest decline since the depths of the financial crisis more than a decade ago, the Commerce Department said Wednesday, April 29.
Consumer and business spending nose-dived in the first quarter, according to the Commerce Department report, which gives the first real look at how painful the economic fallout from the pandemic has been. Although Americans flooded grocery stores to buy food and supplies, it was not nearly enough to offset lost spending on dining out, car sales, entertainment and more.
The worst is yet to come, many analysts say. The second quarter is likely to show a decline of more than 30% — a level not seen since the Great Depression — as much of the economy entered a deep lockdown to try to encourage people to stay home to stop the spread of the virus.
While the U.S. economy started off the year on solid footing, the situation deteriorated rapidly in March after President Donald Trump declared a national emergency and said no more than 10 people could gather together at once, a decision made to protect the nation's health that triggered millions of restaurants, gyms, coffee shops and other businesses to shutter.
This article was written by Heather Long, a reporter for The Washington Post.