U.S. gross domestic product increased at an annualized rate of 33.1% in the third quarter of 2020, surpassing the 32% estimate produced by a Dow Jones survey of economists.
The economic boom was a record for the U.S. in the post World War II era. Previously, the record was 16.7% growth in the first quarter of 1950.
In quarter 2 of this year, U.S. GDP took its steepest dive ever: 31.4% on an annualized rate. The annualized rate describes how much GDP would be up over the previous year if a specific quarter's rate of growth continued unabated for a year. Actual percentage change from quarter 3 of 2019 is 2.9%, while the second quarter decrease from second quarter 2019 was 9%.
"The reality is that the GDP numbers demonstrate that the U.S. economy did indeed rebound strongly as [coronavirus] lockdown measures were lifted," said James McCann of Aberdeen Global Investments.
The bullish growth may well be unsustainable in quarter 4, warned Ian Shepherdson, chief economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics.
"Absent new stimulus, and with Covid infections spreading rapidly, we're sticking to our 4% forecast for Q4 growth, though the margin of error here is large at this point," Shepherdson said.