- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 29, 2020

The U.S. economy rebounded at a record annualized rate of 33.1 percent in the third quarter as employers recovered from coronavirus lockdowns.

The strong report gives President Trump a positive closing argument in the final days of the presidential campaign.

“So glad this great GDP number came out before November 3rd,” the president tweeted.

The rebound in gross domestic product came after the economy shrank by a record 31.4 percent in the second quarter. Tens of millions of workers lost their jobs as businesses were forced to close during the early months of the pandemic.

Wall Street has been showing concerns this week about more economic woes. The Dow Jones Industrial Average plummeted 943 points, or 3.4 percent, on Wednesday on a surge in COVID-19 cases in the U.S. and Europe, and the failure of Washington to approve another rescue package. Markets this week had their biggest sell-off since June.

Democratic presidential nominee Joseph R. Biden said despite the surge in hiring, Mr. Trump “is on track to be the first president since Herbert Hoover to leave office with fewer jobs than when he came into office.”

“This report underscores three inescapable truths about Donald Trump’s economy: we are in a deep hole and President Trump’s failure to act has meant that Q3 growth wasn’t nearly enough to get us out of; the recovery is slowing if not stalling; and the recovery that is happening is helping those at the top, but leaving tens of millions of working families and small businesses behind,” Mr. Biden said in a statement. “President Trump still has no plan to get our country through this crisis and move us forward.”

The president called it the “Biggest and Best in the History of our Country, and not even close.”

“Next year will be FANTASTIC!!! However, Sleepy Joe Biden and his proposed record setting tax increase, would kill it all,” Mr. Trump posted on Twitter.

White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow said the snap-back in the economy is not a “one-time impact.”

“It is a strong, strong recovery,” he said on Fox News.

The Trump campaign quickly tweeted after the record GDP report, “President Trump is making our economy great again!”

“This record economic growth is absolute validation of President Trump’s policies which create jobs and opportunities for Americans in every corner of the country,” said Trump campaign communications director Tim Murtaugh. “The president built the world’s best economy once and he’s rapidly doing it again, proving that cutting taxes and reducing regulations and red tape clear the way for American ingenuity and our entrepreneurial spirit to thrive.”

Jobless claims also fell by 40,000 to 751,000 last week, the Labor Department reported on Thursday.

Josh Lipsky of the Atlantic Council, who is a former official at the International Monetary Fund, said the GDP report was good, but he also called it “old news.”

“The numbers reflect the rebound over the summer as the U.S. emerged from lockdown and consumers spent stimulus funds,” he said. “But with COVID cases rising in the fall combined with Washington’s failure to pass more relief, there are already signs the economy is stalling again in Q4. The U.S. is now on pace for at least a minus-4 percent contraction in 2020, making it the worst year for GDP growth since World War II.”

Trump ally Alfredo Ortiz, president and CEO of the Job Creators Network, noted that businesses created a record 11.2 million jobs in the past five months. He said Mr. Biden would reverse the recovery.

“Our small business members are terrified of his record tax hikes, Green New Deal, $15 minimum wage, and gradual government takeover of our healthcare system,” Mr. Ortiz said in a statement. “Biden’s left-wing agenda would tank our economy and reverse all the progress we’ve made since the pandemic peaked. We are going to need the largest conservative turnout in history to keep America a capitalist and prosperous society.”

He said his network’s “Keep America America” campaign is educating voters about the stakes of this election.

“With five days to go, we are working harder than ever and we will deliver,” Mr. Ortiz said.

Mr. Murtaugh said the economy has regained more than half of the jobs lost to the global pandemic in less than six months, “while it took more than two years to regain half of job losses from a recession while Joe Biden was in charge.”

“President Trump will continue to safely reopen the country, while Biden is the candidate of lockdowns, inviting another economic shutdown which would devastate working people and cause even more health problems above and beyond what the coronavirus has caused,” he said. “Biden’s plans for a $4 trillion tax increase and Green New Deal regulations on every person, business, building and farm in the nation would kill this recovery while it’s already in full swing.”

Gabriella Muñoz contributed to this story.

• Dave Boyer can be reached at dboyer@washingtontimes.com.

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