Published on April 29, 2020

The annual US gross domestic product (GDP) fell 4.8% in the first quarter of 2020, the largest decline since the Great Recession.

The Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) reported that the annual GDP —the value of all goods and services produced in the US — was $191.2 billion lower than it was in the last three months of 2019. The agency attributes this to the spread of COVID-19 and subsequent stay-at-home orders.

According to the BEA, "this led to rapid changes in demand, as businesses and schools switched to remote work or canceled operations, and consumers canceled, restricted, or redirected their spending."

Quarterly GDP change

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The most recent numbers illustrate the largest GDP decline since the fourth quarter of 2008 when the economy shrank 8.4%.

GDP is just one data point demonstrating the economic toll of the pandemic. Earlier this month, the Census Bureau reported that US retail sales fell 8.7% in March.

Anticipating an economic decline due to COVID-19, Congress passed a series of aid and stimulus packages, including small business loans, additional unemployment benefits, and stimulus checks.