GDP Second Quarter, Third Estimate (Sept. 2020)
Coronavirus (COVID-19) Impact on the Second-Quarter 2020 GDP Estimate: The decline in second quarter GDP reflected the response to COVID-19, as “stay-at-home” orders issued in March and April were partially lifted in some areas of the country in May and June, and government pandemic assistance payments were distributed to households and businesses. This led to rapid shifts in activity, as businesses and schools continued remote work and consumers and businesses canceled, restricted, or redirected their spending. The full economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic cannot be quantified in the GDP estimate for the second quarter of 2020 because the impacts are generally embedded in source data and cannot be separately identified.
Real gross domestic product (GDP) decreased at an annual rate of 31.4 percent in the second quarter of 2020, according to the "third" estimate released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis. In the first quarter, real GDP decreased 5.0 percent. In the second estimate, the decrease in real GDP was 31.7 percent. The upward revision with the third estimate primarily reflected an upward revision to personal consumption expenditures (PCE) that was partly offset by downward revisions to exports and to nonresidential fixed investment.
The decrease in real GDP reflected decreases in PCE, exports, nonresidential fixed investment, private inventory investment, residential fixed investment, and state and local government spending that were partly offset by an increase in federal government spending. Imports, which are a subtraction in the calculation of GDP, decreased.
The decrease in PCE reflected decreases in services (led by health care) and goods (led by clothing and footwear). The decrease in exports primarily reflected a decrease in goods (led by capital goods). The decrease in nonresidential fixed investment primarily reflected a decrease in equipment (led by transportation equipment). The decrease in private inventory investment primarily reflected a decrease in retail (led by motor vehicle dealers). The decrease in residential investment primarily reflected decreases in new single-family housing.
In the third estimate, the second-quarter change in real GDP was revised up 0.3 percentage point from the second estimate. PCE, residential investment, and state and local government spending were revised up. These upward revisions were partly offset by downward revisions to exports and to private nonresidential fixed investment (mainly intellectual property products).