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Economy

2 Grim Reports are Expected on Virus’ Damage to US Economy

WASHINGTON (AP) — The government is poised Thursday to deliver a double-dose of sobering news — on the devastation the coronavirus caused the U.S. economy last quarter and the damage it continues to inflict on the job market.

The pandemic is believed to have caused the economy to shrink during the April-June period at an annual rate exceeding 30%. That would easily shatter the existing record for a quarterly contraction, a 10% drop in 1958.

The virus forced millions of employers to slash jobs as consumers stopped shopping and traveling, and hotels, restaurants and small businesses closed their doors. Most analysts expect the economy to manage a sharp bounce-back in the current July-September quarter. Yet with confirmed coronavirus cases elevated in a majority of states, the economy could worsen in the months ahead.

At the same time that the government will estimate how the economy fared last quarter, it will issue its latest snapshot of the weekly toll of layoffs that remain persistently high as companies continue to cut jobs. More than 1 million people have applied for unemployment benefits for 18 straight weeks.

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