Washington, D.C.—Today, Congressman Don Beyer (D-VA), Vice Chair of the U.S. Congress Joint Economic Committee (JEC), released the following statement after the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) reported its initial estimate of third quarter gross domestic product (GDP), showing that real GDP grew at an annual rate of 33.1%—after declining 31.4% in the second quarter, the worst quarterly decline in history.

Real GDP would have had to increase almost 46% just to make up for the loss in economic output suffered in the second quarter. To return to its pre-pandemic level, real GDP would have needed to increase by more than 53% in the third quarter. For additional context, see the JEC’s newest issue brief Third Quarter GDP Will Paint Misleading Picture of Recovery.

From Vice Chair Beyer:

“Leading economists have shown convincingly that record GDP growth this quarter does not mean much because it follows a record decline last quarter. We are nowhere near making up for the historic loss in economic output that we suffered a few months ago and to get there we would need to see a number that is at least 20 percentage points higher. President Trump knows this—it is being widely reported—but he is trying to mislead the public by claiming an economic miracle.

“Americans can believe what he says or they can believe their own eyes. Millions are unemployed—they know the economy is not booming. Almost one-third of adult Americans expect to lose their home to eviction or foreclosure and almost one-third say they are having difficulty paying for usual household expenses. More than one-third say they are experiencing anxiety or depression. Those Americans are not fooled when the president says he has worked magic with the economy.

“The only way for the economy to fully recover is to contain the coronavirus. Until that happens, we need to make sure families, businesses and state and local governments have the support they need to survive. Hopefully President Trump and Senate Republicans take action before it is too late.

“President Trump’s failure to use the power of the presidency to fight the coronavirus has cost tens of thousands of lives and has caused immense and lasting economic damage. This is his legacy.”

About Congressman Beyer

Congressman Don Beyer is currently serving his third term in the U.S. House of Representatives, representing Northern Virginia suburbs of the nation’s capital. In addition to his role as Vice Chair of the JEC, Beyer serves on the House Committee on Ways and Means and the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology. Previously, Beyer served as the Lieutenant Governor of Virginia and Ambassador to Switzerland, and built a successful family business over the course of four decades.

About the U.S. Congress Joint Economic Committee

The U.S. Congress Joint Economic Committee is Congress’s bicameral economic think tank. It was created when Congress passed the Employment Act of 1946. Under this Act, Congress established two advisory panels: the President's Council of Economic Advisers (CEA) and the JEC. Their primary tasks are to review economic conditions and to recommend improvements in economic policy. Chairmanship of the JEC alternates between the Senate and House every Congress. Currently, Senator Mike Lee (R-UT) is the Chair and Congressman Don Beyer (D-VA) is Vice Chair.