The US gross domestic product fell by 3.5% last year, the worst since World War II. The US Department of Commerce's Bureau of Economic Analysis said in a report.
The report said the economy experienced a significant drop for the first time since the 2008 financial crisis. At the time, GDP shrank by 2.5 per cent. However, the agency said the US economy grew by 4% year on year in the last quarter of 2020. Meanwhile, in the first quarter, the economy shrank by 5%, in the second by a record 31.4%, and in the third it also grew by a record 33.4%.
The ministry said last year's decline in the world's biggest economy was the steepest since 1946, when the figure fell 11.6%. In addition, the report claimed that the annual drop in US GDP was the first in 11 years.
According to initial estimates, real US consumer spending growth for the fourth quarter was 2.5% on an annualised basis, compared with a 41% increase in the third quarter. At the same time, according to a preliminary estimate, the US economy declined by 2.5% year-on-year in the final quarter of 2020. There was a 0.3% year-on-year growth in the first quarter, a 9% decline in the second quarter and a 2.8% decline in the third quarter.
Last week the Chinese authorities published figures claiming that the country's GDP will grow by 2.3% in 2020. This is the lowest growth rate since 1976. Back then China's economy shrank by 1.6%. In recent years the Chinese economy has grown at an annual rate of more than 6%. The country's GDP growth was 6.8% in 2017, 6.6% in 2018 and 6% in 2019.
Meanwhile, China showed a high rate of economic recovery after the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak and amid a trade rivalry with the US. The PRC economy accelerated in the fourth quarter and was in "surprisingly good shape" by the end of the year, even in the face of the pandemic. While China's GDP fell 6.8% in the first quarter, it already grew 3.2% in the second, 4.9% in the third and 6.5% in the fourth.