The healthcare crisis has hammered the U.S. economy even worse than forecast. The Commerce Department on Monday said gross domestic product, or GDP, fell 4.8% for the first three months of the year as lockdowns and stay-at-home orders strangled output nationwide.
The data shows the worst decline in economic growth since the Great Recession and brought the longest expansion in U.S. history to a shuddering halt.
The GDP number reinforces analysts' belief that the economy is already mired in a deep recession. It also indicates that the lock-downs and stay-at-home orders that went into effect in the last two weeks of March were enough to reverse strong performance in the first ten weeks of the year.
The report could pressure states and local governments to reopen their economies. Economists say measures such as the $3 trillion fiscal package Congress had approved and Fed actions to cut interest rates and lend money are not enough. Investors will be closely reading the Fed's assessment of the economy when the central bank releases its statement Wednesday afternoon.