The U.S. economy shrank at an annual rate of 4.8 percent in the first quarter as the coronavirus pandemic brought widespread disruption to the nation, according to new gross domestic product numbers out Wednesday morning. That’s the sharpest decline since the Great Recession in the late 2000s, and marks an abrupt end to the longest economic expansion on record. It comes as no surprise—large sections of the economy have been shut down since the pandemic took hold of the country and at least 26 million people have lost their jobs. The figures, published by the Department of Commerce, only cover economic activity up to the end of March, meaning the next quarter is likely to show even worse numbers. “You’re looking at something like minus 20 percent to minus 30 percent in the second quarter,” White House economic adviser Kevin Hassett told CNBC.
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