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Special Report

GDP Research Brief

Fourth Quarter 2020

Economy Grows at the Fastest Pace in Postwar Era in Third Quarter

U.S. records strongest quarterly gain on record. Reopening local economies pushed GDP growth to 33.1 percent in the third quarter. Although the gain was on the high end of expectations, the overall economy remains 3.5 percent below the level at the end of last year. Following strict shutdowns in April and May, most states began to relax restrictions on nonessential businesses to some degree. At the same time, CARES Act stimulus started reaching households as delayed unemployment payments, the Paycheck Protection Plan, and other support was injected into the economy. Much of the third quarter growth likely occurred in the first two months of the period before government aid dissipated.

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