WASHINGTON US data reports Thursday are set to confirm the coronavirus pandemic caused a historic plunge in GDP as well as a worryingly high number of new unemployment filings. Analysts forecast the economic crash in the second quarter was 35 percent annualized, while new claims for jobless benefits in the week ended July 25 will remain in the 1.4 million range as the COVID-19 continues to hammer businesses. The data will underscore how the US failure to contain the virus has wrecked the world’s largest economy. Despite a promising rebound in June, July has seen a resurgence of cases across the country with several new one-day records, causing some states to roll back the reopening measures that benefitted sectors like retail and travel. “Several high-frequency indicators… support our estimate of a material slowing in the pace of recovery beginning in July, as households and businesses curtail activity in response to a resurgence of new COVID-19 infections,” IHS Markit said in an analysis. Economists warn the situation will not get better until COVID-19 is stopped, and the Federal Reserve’s rate-setting committee said Wednesday, “The path of the economy will depend significantly on the course of the virus.”–AFP
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