U.S. GDP Fell At A 5% Rate In The First Quarter, And The Worse Is Likely On The Way

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A Dana assembly technician wears a face mask as he assembles axles for automakers, as the auto industry begins reopening amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, at the Dana plant in Toledo, Ohio, May 18, 2020.

Rebecca Cook | Reuters

The U.S. economy shrank at a 5.0% rate in the first quarter with a much worse decline expected in the current three-month economic period because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The Commerce Department reported Thursday that the decline in the gross domestic product, the total output of goods and services, in the January-March quarter was unchanged from the estimate made a month ago.

That was the sharpest quarterly decline since an 8.4% fall in the fourth quarter of 2008 during the depths of the financial crisis.

The first quarter decline reflected just two weeks of the shutdowns that began in many parts of the country in mid-March.

Economists are forecasting a much bigger GDP drop of around 30% for the current April-June period.