The U.S. economy shrank by a stunning 9.5 percent from April through June, a historic contraction and a stinging reminder of how much was lost in such a short period.
The drop in gross domestic product was the fastest the quarterly rate has fallen in modern record-keeping. As the ground beneath the economy buckled amid the coronavirus pandemic, tens of millions of jobs were erased, businesses were gutted and the future of the economy became further intertwined with an uncontrolled public health crisis.
With that pain still fresh for millions of Americans, economists say the second quarter stands as an urgent warning for what is at stake if the vestiges of a recovery from earlier this summer vanish. While Congress clashes over another stimulus bill and the virus forces more states to shut down bars and restaurants again, there is mounting fear that the economy could be held back even more, making a true recovery much more fraught.