US GDP contracted by 4.8% in the first quarter. It was the first negative GDP reading since a 1.1% decline in the first quarter of 2014 and it was the lowest level since the 8.4% plunge in Q4 of 2008.
And the worst is yet to come.
The Q1 GDP number only captures the first couple of weeks of coronavirus-inspired government lockdowns of the economy. In fact, in January Donald Trump and others were telling us that it was the best economy in the history of the world. That was also in the first quarter.
The first-quarter GDP print came in even worse than expected. Economists were projecting a contraction of 3.5 to 4%. The precipitous and rapid plunge in economic activity not only reflects the impacts of turning off the economy in the midst of coronavirus; it also reveals just how fragile the economy was before the pandemic.
Back in January, President Trump called it the greatest economy in history. Trump continued to talk up the economy during the State of the Union address, taking credit for the "strong" economic growth. At the time, Peter Schiff said nobody should be taking credit for the condition of the US economy. In fact, economic growth wasn't much different than it was when Obama was president.