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2Q20 real GDP fell 31.4% q/q at a seasonally adjusted annual rate, following a 5.0% q/q decline in 1Q20. The second quarter should mark the end of a severe but short recession, with a peak to trough decline of 10.1% in real terms. While 3Q20 could see a more than 30% q/q bounce, the recovery is likely to be more gradual thereafter, and the 4Q19 peak in GDP may not be surpassed until 2Q21. September retail sales increased more than expected, rising 1.9% m/m and 5.4% y/y drive by clothing and department stores, while industrial production fell 0.6% driven by a drop in utilities, down 7.3% y/y overall.
Nonfarm payrolls increased by 661,000 in September and the unemployment rate fell to 7.9%. Leisure and hospitality accounted for nearly half of the job gains, but government jobs declined by 216,000, including 34,000 temporary Census 2020 workers. Wages grew 0.1% m/m for all workers and were flat for production and non-supervisory workers, up 4.7% y/y and 4.6% y/y, respectively. The economy has now regained 52% of the 22 million jobs lost between February and April. Although this jobs report demonstrated solid progress in a gradual recovery, the pace of progress has slowed considerably.