The US economy shrunk by an estimated 9.5% between April and June, according to government data released yesterday. The second quarter figure equates to a seasonally adjusted annualized rate of about 33%—meaning nearly a third of the economy would be erased if the performance were extended for 12 months. The plunge is the steepest on record, exceeding a 28% drop in 1921, though it still slightly beat analysts' predictions of more than 34%. The economy is expected to rebound in the third quarter, with the actual full-year contraction target of 7%.
The numbers reflect an economy brought nearly to a standstill by the coronavirus beginning in late March. Consumer spending—which accounts for roughly 70% of GDP—fell a historic 12.6% in April. The lack of spending was reflected in savings rates, which rose a whopping 25%.
In related news, first-time unemployment claims rose for the second
straight week, clocking in at just over 1.43 million. Analysts say the numbers—the 19th straight week above 1 million—are linked to many states having to pause or reverse reopenings amid increasing coronavirus cases. Continuing claims, a better proxy for current unemployment, rose to 17 million.
A Life Celebrated
Civil rights icon Rep. John Lewis was laid to rest in Atlanta yesterday during a private ceremony at the church once led by his former friend and colleague, Martin Luther King Jr. The service marked the end of a six-day celebration that began in Alabama and included a stop in Washington, DC. Among a long list of speakers, former Presidents Clinton and Bush gave remarks while former President Obama provided the eulogy.
As a college student, Lewis
played a key role in a number of pivotal moments during the civil rights movement of the 1960s (see our previous write-up here), including being one of the Big Six that led the 1963 March on Washington. As a 16-term congressman, Lewis represented the Atlanta metro area, continuing his advocacy as chair of the House Ways and Means oversight subcommittee. See photos from yesterday's ceremony here.
Lewis penned a final op-ed meant to be published posthumously on the day of his funeral—read the piece here ($$, NYT).
Herman Cain Dies
Former presidential candidate and food industry chief executive Herman Cain passed away yesterday after being hospitalized in early July with COVID-19 symptoms. Outside of his extensive business career, Cain was best known for his 9-9-9 tax plan during the 2012 election cycle. It is not known how Cain contracted the virus; many noted attended President Trump's June 20 rally in Tulsa without a face mask, among other travels.
In Washington, DC, congressional
leaders continue to struggle to reach agreement on a fourth coronavirus stimulus package. A $600-per-week boost to unemployment benefits is set to expire today—most received their final checks last week—with Democrats rejecting a standalone extension at $200. Early studies showed the $600 boost provided total benefits 30% above median pre-pandemic wages, though data haven't yet bore out that result.
Florida, Arizona, and Texas—which led a boom in new infections since early June—have reversed the trend in cases, with cases dropping 5-10% over the past week. However, daily deaths, which typically lag a surge in new cases, have risen in Florida and Texas, to around 200 per day. See how your state is doing here.
The US has reported 4.5
milliontotal cases as of this morning, with 152,055 deaths. You can see the three-day moving average here, and check out a compilation of forecasts out to September here.
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IN THE KNOW
Sports, Entertainment, & Culture
>NHL returns tomorrow as the league moves directly to the postseason with a 24-team tournament(More) | Here’s how the tournament will work (More)
>Dolly Parton and Lil Nas X among winners at 31st annual GLAAD Media Awards; see list of winners honoring LGBTQ inclusion in entertainment (More) | Beyoncé's "Black is King" visual album out today on Disney+ (More)
>LeBron James among players and coaches who knelt during national anthem on first night of NBA
restart; Commissioner Adam Silver won’t enforce rule barring players from kneeling (More)
Science & Technology
>NASA's Perseverance rover successfully launches, will reach Mars in mid-February 2021; mission will search for signs of ancient life in a dried lakebed (More, w/video)
>Flexible circuits that can be drawn on the skin with a pen-like device offer a breakthrough for wearable electronics and biosensors (More) | Scientists uncover how stem cells trigger the growth of new skin cells when stretched (More)
>Roughly one in three children have lead in their bloodstreams at concentrations high enough to impair neurological development, new study estimates (More)
Business & Markets
>S&P 500 (-0.4%) and Dow (-0.9%) both down on unemployment and gross domestic product figures, while Nasdaq (+0.4%) climbs on strong tech earnings (More)
>Earnings season: Amazon revenues rise 40% as e-commerce balloons amid pandemic, sees largest quarterly profit in history; shares up 5% (More) | Alphabet (Google) sees quarterly revenue decline for first time as public company, driven by drop in advertising revenue; shares flat (More) | Apple blows past earnings expectations as consumers flock to products during pandemic; shares up 6% (More) | Facebook sees slowing Q2 growth as brands throttled spend in April, but
beats revenue expectations; shares up 6% (More)
>Consumer product goods giant Procter & Gamble sees strongest sales gain since 2006; shares up 2% (More) | Casino operator MGM sees 91% decline in quarterly revenues (More)
Politics & World Affairs
>Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau defends himself in front of parliament over accusations that he helped steer a $400M coronavirus grant toward a charity group with ties to his family (More)
>DC Court of Appeals vacates earlier decision allowing the federal government to withdraw its prosecution of Michael
Flynn; case will now be heard by the full panel of 10 appellate judges (More) | Republicans reject suggestion by President Trump to delay November elections over mail-in ballot concerns (More)
>Blistering heat wave hits the Middle East, with Baghdad reporting temperatures above 120 degrees for the
fourth straight day (More)
Love data visualizations like us? Check out our friends at Chartr. They take some of the biggest news stories each week and create beautiful data visualizations around them. The result? Big insights in five minutes or less. More than 60,000 people are getting visual data-driven insights into business, technology, entertainment,
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Pluto's Dark Side
Nature | Shannon Hall. NASA's New Horizons space probe is still sending back images from when it zipped by the far side of Pluto in 2015, revealing spectacular never-before-seen images—including hints of a hidden ocean. (Read)
A Day One Mentality
Congressional Testimony | Jeff Bezos. Though it came in during a congressional antitrust hearing, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezo's opening statement offered a compelling personal look at one of the world's most powerful people. (Read)
Tic-Tac-Toe the Hard Way
Pair | David Weinberger, Yannick Assogba. (Podcast) A fascinating—and super accessible—look at how human choices shape machine learning systems. (Listen)
HistoryExtra | Nige Tassell. A look at the rise and fall of a notorious group of mafia contract killers in 1930s New York City. (Read)
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ETCETERA: BEST OF JULY '20———
Editor's note: More than 1 million monthly clicks can't be wrong. Here are the most popular stories we ran in July. Enjoy!
Historybook: Seventeenth US president Andrew Johnson dies (1875); HBD entrepreneur Mark Cuban (1958); "Harry Potter" author JK Rowling born (1965); START I signed by US and Soviet Union to begin nuclear arms reduction (1991); Fidel Castro relinquishes power to brother Raul after more than 47 years (2006).
"Work like there is someone working 24 hours a day to take it all away from you."
- Mark Cuban
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