WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. economy suffered its sharpest contraction in at least 73 years in the second quarter because of the disruptions from the coronavirus, the government confirmed on Wednesday.
Gross domestic product plunged at a 31.4% annualized rate last quarter, the deepest drop in output since the government started keeping records in 1947, the Commerce Department said in its third estimate of GDP. Output was previously reported to have contracted at a 31.7% pace in the second quarter.
The Trump administration is looking at options for unilateral actions it can take to try to address some of the economic fallout caused by the novel coronavirus pandemic if no relief deal is reached with Congress, according to two people with knowledge of the deliberations.
The discussions are a reflection of officials’ increasingly pessimistic outlook for the talks on Capitol Hill. The White House remains in close contact with Democratic leaders, but a wide gulf remains and deadlines have already been missed.
It’s not clear what steps the administration could take without the help of Congress on issues such as lapsed enhanced unemployment benefits or the expired moratorium on evictions — the two matters President Trump has recently identified as his highest priorities in the ongoing talks. Both of those programs were authorized by Congress earlier this year but were designed to be temporary.
The 35-year-old pizza chain filed for Chapter 11 Thursday, explaining that the process will help it “reduce its long-term debt load, and quickly emerge from bankruptcy as a much stronger company.” It warned that it will close unprofitable locations, but didn’t say how many of its 200 global restaurants will be affected.
“The unprecedented impact of Covid-19 on our operations certainly created additional challenges, but this agreement from our lenders demonstrates their commitment to CPK’s viability as an ongoing business,” CEO Jim Hyatt said in a release.
The number of Americans who filed new claims for unemployment benefits last week totaled 1.434 million, the Labor Department reported Thursday, roughly in line with expectations, as the coronavirus pandemic continues to ravage the U.S. economy. It was the 19th straight week in which initial claims totaled at least 1 million and the second consecutive week in which initial claims rose after declining for 15 straight weeks.
Economists polled by Dow Jones had expected claims to rise to 1.45 million for the week ending July 25.
In a separate report, the government said second-quarter gross domestic product plunged a historic 32.9% on an annualized basis. Although it wasn’t as bad as the expected 34.7% decline, it was the worst drop ever, with the closest previously coming in mid-1921.