The US economy plunged a record-breaking 32.9% in the second quarter, according to data released by the Commerce Department (PDF) this week, further entrenching the country in what’s being called the “fastest recession in US history.” Experts caution, however, that recovering from therecession isn’t going to be nearly so swift, even with and a .
The problem? After spending the better part of March and April under, the US began a haphazard reopening process that public health experts say resulted in a . State governments across the US then slammed the brakes on their reopening plans and many even reversed course, closing businesses like bars and restaurants just weeks after they reopened their doors.
To make matters worse, If you’re among the millions who’ve experienced personal financial hardship as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, many of the economic safeguards put into place at the start of the lockdown —, and a that went out to most Americans — have either .
So, what does the road to economic recovery look like from here? We’ve put together the latest news about the coronavirus recession, where to find help, what makes a recession and the government’s response. Note that this story is intended to provide an overview, not to serve as financial advice. It updates frequently as the situation develops.
Latest coronavirus recession news
Where to find personal financial resources to help you prepare
If you’ve experienced financial hardship as a result of the coronavirus recession, here are some tools to help you regain your financial balance.
When will the recession end?
Unfortunately, we don’t have answers to that question. From an economist’s point of view, a recession ends when certain market requirements are met. From a personal point of view, you might wonder most about your ability to work, pay your bills and secure your financial future.
Economists and experts agree that the economy won’t recover until the coronavirus pandemic is contained — withoutwhen lockdown measures are released. That’ll happen either through , an effective treatment for , a or some combination of all three.
Several vaccine candidates have shown promise in human trials. Even so, it may still be another year or longer before anything is approved for widespread use. The development of a coronavirus vaccine is fast-paced and details change daily.
How the government has tried to bolster the economy
Thepassed as part of the CARES Act in March represents the US government’s first attempt at thwarting a recession. The economic relief law included for most US taxpayers, as well as a loan program for businesses to keep paying their employees.
A debate over ais currently working its way through Congress, but still appears weeks away from being finalized. Meanwhile, the Federal Reserve has indicated it will continue to hold interest rates close to 0% for the foreseeable future, which often has the effect of encouraging more borrowing, which leads to more spending — and more spending generally improves the economy.
How can I help?
It’s easy to feel helpless, but if you’re feeling financially secure or have time to give, there are ways to make a difference. My CNET colleague Katie Conner has some excellent recommendations for, including no-cost contributions like online volunteering or donating blood, as well as ordering take-out or delivery, and buying restaurant gift cards.
Other local businesses like bookstores, gardening centers, toy shops and boutiques may have a website where you can support them with a curbside order, if they remain closed.
The best advice I’ve heard so far about how you can individually help prop up the economy is this: Spend to the best of your ability and within your means.