Biden Makes False Statement About U.S. Economic Contraction

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July 30, 2020

Presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden touted a false statistic Thursday about the economy's contraction in the last quarter, using the inflated annualized figure instead of the quarterly one.

"Today, we learned that the last three months were the worst period for economic growth our nation has experienced in the 70 years since we started measuring it—a drop of nearly 33 percent," Biden said. "And the already unthinkably high numbers of American workers filing for unemployment each week continues to go in the wrong direction."

The nation's gross domestic product actually shrank by 9.5 percent from April to June, largely due to extended shutdowns because of the coronavirus pandemic. GDP shrank by an annualized rate of 32.9 percent, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, but the economy is highly unlikely to similarly contract over the next nine months, making it an unreliable metric.

President Donald Trump's campaign criticized journalists and media outlets, such as NBC News, who reported the annualized figure as the quarterly one.

"These economic numbers reflect April through June, when much of the economy was essentially closed down to save millions of American lives," Trump campaign spokesman Tim Murtaugh said in a statement. "The media is also grabbing onto the annualized number which supposes that the economic conditions will remain the same for an entire year, which it undoubtedly will not."

Biden slammed Trump's leadership on the coronavirus pandemic in his latest statement, calling his response "unacceptable."

Trump has pushed for the economy to reopen as the country seeks to contain the coronavirus, and the White House is bullish on a strong recovery in the second half of 2020. Economic adviser Larry Kudlow said positive signs from retail sales and the automotive sector forecasted double-digit economic growth in the third and fourth quarters.