By Bethany Blankley | The Center Square
The U.S. gross domestic product grew at an annualized rate of 33.1 percent in the third quarter, the Commerce Department said Thursday, the largest output gain on record. Over the last quarter, economic re-openings have revived business activity nationwide, which has fueled the surge, the department said.
The economic data is based on the “advance” estimate released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA). The third quarter results reverse the second quarter bust when real GDP decreased by 31.4 percent.
“The increase in third quarter GDP reflected continued efforts to reopen businesses and resume activities that were postponed or restricted due to COVID-19,” the BEA report states. “The full economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic cannot be quantified in the GDP estimate for the third quarter of 2020 because the impacts are generally embedded in source data and cannot be separately identified.”
“The reading represents how much the economy would’ve grown had the third-quarter rate lasted for a year,” Business Insider reports. “It’s a sharp reversal from the second quarter’s 31.4 percent annualized rate of contraction.”
Real GDP reflects increases in personal consumption expenditures, private inventory investment, exports, nonresidential fixed investment, and residential fixed investment that were partly offset by decreases in federal government spending and state and local government spending, BEA explains.
Current-dollar GDP increased by 38 percent, or $1.64 trillion, in the third quarter to a level of $21.16 trillion, according to the report. In the second quarter, GDP decreased 32.8 percent, or $2.04 trillion.
Disposable personal income decreased by 13.2 percent, or $636.7 billion, in the third quarter compared to an increase of 44.3 percent ($1.60 trillion) in the second quarter.
Personal savings were reported to be $2.78 trillion in the third quarter, compared to $4.71 trillion in the second quarter. Personal savings as a percentage of disposable personal income was 15.8 percent in the third quarter, compared to 25.7 percent in the second quarter, the report states.
The reversal of savings indicates that individuals and families were relying on them to get through months-long state shutdowns even after the federal government extended unemployment benefits and spent trillions of dollars on paycheck protection and business loan programs.
Roughly 11.4 million Americans are back to work after a record more than 40 million filed for unemployment after state shutdowns began in mid-March.
In response to the report, President Donald Trump tweeted, “GDP number just announced. Biggest and Best in the History of our Country, and not even close. Next year will be FANTASTIC!!! However, Sleepy Joe Biden and his proposed record setting tax increase, would kill it all. So glad this great GDP number came out before November 3rd.”
Trump faces former Vice President Biden in next Tuesday’s election.
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-California, said the credit for the GDP growth was due to the CARES Act, not Trump.
She told reporters Thursday, “The CARES Act deserves credit for that. We had lost ground in the second quarter. This barely makes up for that and the CARES Act deserves credit for injecting resources into the economy, whether it’s then in our subsequent CARES and the subsequent PPP.”
“Somebody used an example this morning: As if you lost $100 in the second quarter, and now you are making up $65. Glory, hallelujah …,” she said, adding that the CARES Act was a bipartisan measure. “Yes, Congress and the administration worked together in a bipartisan way to pass the CARES Act as well as subsequent legislation to inject resources into the economy.”
Additional data and the second estimate for the third quarter will be released on Nov. 25, the agency reported.