GDP: America’s awful economy in the first quarter was even worse than we thought

US gross domestic product, the broadest measure of the American economy, shrank by an annualized rate of 5% between January and March. A preliminary report estimated the first-quarter economy shrank by 4.8%.

It was the worst performance for the US economy since the final quarter of 2008, when America was in the midst of the financial crisis.

Much of the decline was driven by a sharp drop-off in consumer spending, especially on elective health care procedures.

Economists had braced for the first-quarter contraction. But the revision shows that the economy was even worse than expected — despite humming along in January and February before shutting down in March. GDP is expected to contract even more this quarter.

This second look at the numbers also included corporate profits, showing that profits from current production declined nearly 14% from the prior quarter — a decrease of $295 billion between January and March, compared to a increase of $53 billion in the final quarter of 2019. This was the worst decline since the fourth quarter of 2008.

Financial corporations recorded a near 17%, or $67 billion, profit drop, and non-financial companies logged a 14%, or $170 billion, profit decrease.

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