The US economy has grown at its fatest pace ever in the third quarter of the year, following a historic low in the second quarter.
US Commerce Department data showed gross domestic product (GDP) rose by an annualised 33.1% between July to September, following a 31.4% decline in the second quarter due to lockdowns throughout most of the US. The increase was twice as high as the next best quarter in 1947.
However, incomes plunged in the third quarter and the economy remains 3.5% below its level at the end of 2019.
Separate data from the US Labor Department showed the weekly tally of new applications for jobless benefits fell 40,000 to 751,000 in the week to October 24.
US President Donald Trump seized the opportunity to take credit for the news via Twitter and at a Republican rally in Tampa, Florida.
“This explosive economic growth is four times greater than what the experts expected,” Donald Trump told the thousands packed outside the Raymond James Stadium.
“Weekly jobless claims – this is boring but it’s really good – just hit a seven-month low.”
A 33.1% (!!!) growth in GDP (the best ever!) should end any argument about a Trump-led economic recovery.@realDonaldTrump is restoring the pre-COVID economy that Americans loved!
— Ivanka Trump (@IvankaTrump) October 29, 2020
Trump focused in on the 33.1% growth in GDP and then transitioned into a pledge to never again to shut down the country and its economy because of the coronavirus pandemic.
“We’re never gonna lock down again,” he said, even as the US experienced its third wave of the virus.
Fire truck spraying the crowd at Trump rally in Tampa. Did I mention it’s hot? I’m getting sprayed 100 yards away. pic.twitter.com/Sq35nVnra1
— Zac Anderson (@zacjanderson) October 29, 2020
Meanwhile, Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden is also in Florida. As has been consistent throughout the last week of campaigning, to minimise crowds and allow for social distancing, the drive-in location of his rallies is only told to supporters and members of the media who will attend.
This is in stark difference to the crowded Trump rallies, which have been reported on by media and highlighted by the US President himself.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 28, 2020
Florida, with 29 electoral votes, is a must-win state for Trump to have a realistic chance of being re-elected. He won the state by 113,000 votes over Hillary Clinton in 2016, a margin of 1.2%. Nearly seven million ballots have been cast in Florida as of October 29, according to the US Elections Project.
Biden maintains a substantial lead over Trump nationwide, according to a new CNN Poll conducted by SSRS.
Among likely voters, 54% support Biden with 42% backing Trump. Biden has held a lead in every CNN poll on the matchup since 2019.
The 2020 US Election is expected to have the highest voter turnout in 112 years.