Business economists expect the United States to suffer its worst downturn this year in more than seven decades before growth resumes sometime next year. Overhanging that forecast, though, is the risk that a second wave of the coronavirus could threaten the economy once again.

A survey released Monday by the National Association for Business Economics predicts that the gross domestic product – the total value of goods and services produced in the United States – will fall 5.9% for 2020 as a result of the recession triggered by the virus.

That would be the sharpest annual decline since GDP fell 11.6% in 1946, when the nation was demobilizing after World War II.

The NABE panel of 48 forecasters expects the 5% annual GDP drop that occurred in the

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