US growth surged in summer but recovery is slowing

BBC.- The US economy emerged quickly from the depths of the crisis triggered by coronavirus lockdowns this spring, but full recovery remains out of reach.

Official figures show the economy grew at a record 33% annual rate over the three months to 30 September, swinging upward after a severe decline earlier in the year.

But output remained 2.9% lower compared with the same period last year.

The data comes as analysts warn the rebound may be running out of steam.

The unemployment rate has fallen from the 14.7% high recorded in April, dropping to 7.9% last month, as businesses reopened, employers recalled workers and shoppers returned to restaurants and stores – helped by trillions of dollars in government aid.

But after the initial burst of activity, job growth has slowed and employers have yet to restore more than 10 million positions cut during the spring.

In recent weeks, major companies, including plane-maker Boeing, financial firm Charles Schwab, and media giant Walt Disney, have announced new reductions in staff.

The gross domestic product (GDP) figures – the broadest measure of economic activity – come less than a week before the US presidential election and as the debate in Washington about the need to fund additional coronavirus relief remains at an impasse.

The US was not hit as badly as many countries this spring, with the economy shrinking at an annual rate of more than 31%. Calculated over the quarter – the way many other countries measure economic growth – it fell 9%, less than the roughly 20% contraction seen in the UK, for example.

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